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Assessing the use of bacteriophages for removal of odour-producing bacteria from vacuum-packed pork

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posted on 2022-02-10, 11:30 authored by Francesca Elizabeth Hodges
Food waste is an issue of global importance. The ever-growing population on Earth combined with a finite amount of resources means that the protection and production efficiency of food is paramount to the ability to feed people without waste. Food waste is primarily an issue for economically developed countries where consumers have the luxury of choice when it comes to selecting the food products they purchase. There are several factors that influence the consumer’s perception of a product: how the food itself looks, the smell, and the taste. Any deviation from what is considered ‘normal’ or ‘safe’ by the consumer can lead to the disposal of food that is safe for human consumption, and thus wastage of nutritional resources.
Food spoilage microorganisms are predominantly responsible for changes in look, smell, and taste of a product, but not all spoilage renders food unsafe. Several spoilage species are associated with the production of off-odours in a variety of fresh meat products, and their presence on meat, though harmless, causes a significant of food waste. Due to restrictions in food processing, there are limits on what can be done to meat to remove bacteria. As such, the practical application of bacteriophages in meat production is a promising solution to reducing food waste. This is due to their specificity, organic source, growing government approvals of bacteriophage-based products, and proven efficacy in the removal of pathogens from food.
This project assesses the suitability of bacteriophages for application in fresh vacuum-packed pork products to reduce growth of target spoilage bacteria and production of off-odours. The odour of vacuum-packed pork sampled across a seven-month period is characterised and the bacteria responsible for the off odours are identified. In addition, the effect of oxygen environment on phage infection efficacy is investigated, providing novel insight into bacteriophage/host interactions.

History

Supervisor(s)

Paul Monks; Martha Clokie

Date of award

2021-12-16

Author affiliation

Department of Genetics and Genome Biology

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Language

en

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