Foedevarer Studerende Undervisning 0140

Battling unwanted guests: microbiology in legume-based foods

The project will deliver new knowledge about growth rates of bacteria in legumes, unprocessed and processed legume protein and starch, and in hybrid products made from legume protein and starch together with meat.

One of EU’s green transition goals is zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which will require a drastic restructuring of our way of life. However, most consumers do not wish to reduce their standard of living, and thus, solutions are required that are comparable to this current standard.

These solutions also apply to the food industry, where foods of animal origin have the largest climate impact. Many consumers are not willing to give up the meat, and a central argument is that they do not want to compromise on taste (e-book in Danish: Fra planter til kød). At present, it appears that hybrid products are starting to gain traction, but producers still lack knowledge about the microbiology on such products.


This project will collaborate with food manufacturers and food concept developers on generating knowledge about growth rates of relevant microorganisms in plant-based and hybrid foods. This knowledge will be useful to food manufacturers in risk assessment and shelf-life determination, in terms of potential pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms in their products. In addition, the project will seek to identify and characterise in detail the molecules and mechanisms that have an effect on the growth rates of specific bacteria.

Research questions

  • What are the growth rates of different types of bacteria in foods with legume derived raw materials and ingredients?
  • Which components or molecules, that have in impact on bacteria growth rates, can be isolated from legumes?
  • What characterises the competition between different species of bacteria in hybrid products made from legume ingredients and meat?

To answer the above questions, growth rates of selected relevant bacteria, alone or with meat and legume ingredients, will be assessed, using traditional microbiological methods as well as more advanced screening methods. Standard recognised biochemical methods for identification and characterisation of potential high activity fractions and/or molecules will be used.


The primary collaborators are food manufacturer Crispy Food a/s and Brannatura Aps.


The project is expected to deliver one or two research articles, as well as a consumer targeted article and a contribution to the 10th International Conference on Food Chemistry and Technology, which in 2024 will take place in Denmark.

Project duration and contact person

January 2023 - december 2024


Svend Secher Dam


Senior Lecturer