Food Infections and Prevention

The physiology and molecular biology of filamentous fungi which play a role as spoilage or toxin-producing organisms are investigated. The research focuses on the elucidation of the regulatory mechanisms for mycotoxin biosynthesis at both molecular and physiological level. The emphasis of these investigations is on the influences of environmental conditions which lead to mycotoxin synthesis in the plant food product. The aim of this approach is to develop new procedures which prevent mycotoxin production in such foods. The influence of external factors such as substrate composition, temperature, water activity or pH value on mycotoxin gene activation, and hence mycotoxin production, are investigated by transcriptional analyses. The systematic transcription results obtained are used for the generation of models for predicting mycotoxin biosynthesis. Moreover, different key functions of signal cascades involved in mycotoxin synthesis are investigated in order to obtain information on the relationship between environmental parameters (in food) and gene regulation at transcriptional level. The presence of fungi in food has been both advantage and problems to food stores. Fungi can spoil large quantities of food and produce dangerous toxins that threaten human health; however, fungal spoilage in certain foods can produce a unique, highly prized food source and there are some very effective fungal derived medicines. Food preservation is the process of treating and handling food to stop or slow down food spoilage, loss of quality, edibility, or nutritional value and thus allow for longer food storage. Preservation usually involves preventing the growth of bacteria, fungi (such as yeasts), and other microorganisms, as well as retarding the oxidation of fats which cause rancidity. Many food products are perishable by nature and require protection from spoilage during their preparation, storage and distribution to give them desired shelf-life. Because food products are now often sold in areas of the world far distant from their production sites, the need for extended safe shelf-life for these products has also expanded. The development of food preservation processes has been driven by the need to extend the shelf-life of foods. Food preservation is a continuous fight against microorganisms spoiling the food or making it unsafe. Several food preservation systems such as heating, refrigeration and addition of antimicrobial compounds can be used to reduce the risk of outbreaks of food poisoning; however, these techniques frequently have associated adverse changes in organoleptic characteristics and loss of nutrients.

  • Mycotoxin synthesis
  • Biological hazards
  • Foodborne intoxication

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Food Infections and Prevention Conference Speakers