Reducing spoilage in plant-based foods

The project will contribute with new insights into microbiological spoilage, which can shorten product development for plant-based foods

This project will advance the understanding of spoilage in plant-based foods.

In addition, the possibility of using new and more advanced analytical techniques to support, or even replace, traditional and often more time-consuming analyses is explored.

Improved strategies and application of new technologies

The project results are expected to lead to:

  • Improved strategies for stabilisation of plant-based meat replacers, meaning less time is spent on product development and increased value for producers.
  • The application of new technologies, like metagenomics and proteomics, for evaluation of microbial spoilage processes in plant-based foods.

Plant-based meat replacers are conquering the supermarkets

Many of the new plant-based foods seek to attract consumers by imitating traditional meat products.

Because this is a relatively new category of products, there is still limited knowledge about the microbiology, and the biochemical impications of microbiology, in such products.

Spoilage is often the result of growth of unwanted microrganisms, that reduce the shelf-life of a product. By applying state-of-the-art analytical techniques it is possible to rapidly identify the responsible organisms and characterise the spoilage processes in plant-based foods, and thereby achieve a deeper understanding of how they affect product shelf life.

The results from such analyses can subsequently be used to focus the investigation of suitable stabilization strategies, in order to extend shelf life.

Conferences and teaching resources

The project will present the obtained results at one or more international conferences on food microbiology. It will also be possible to prepare resources for educational purposes.

A plan will be described, in which the application of state-of-the-art analytical techniques is included, and how this can be implemented in course material at the bachelor level.

Cooperation with an advisory and analysis company

A cooperation will be made with a local advisory and analysis company in order to target quality-enhancing strategies in plant-based foods.

The company’s role in the project is advisory in relation to experimental design and interpretation and to communicate with relevant food companies in Denmark and abroad.

Project period and contact person

  • Project period: August 2017 – July 2020
  • Project Managers: Aaron Marc Saunders & Bjørn Petrat-Melin
  • Official project title: Spoilage in plant-based meat alternatives, and how to prevent it