Food Safety and Environmental Testing

Microbiology Testing - General Context

CellMadeTM Laboratories has the latest technologies in the field combining both classical and rapid microbiological methods of analysis. CellMadeTM Laboratories use the most robust techniques such as real-time PCR or Sanger sequencing allowing for rapid analysis and extremely precise confirmation of obtained results.

Bacteria are the most important microorganisms to the food processor. Most are harmless, many are highly beneficial, some indicate the probable presence of filth, disease organisms, spoilage and a few cause disease. There are thousands of species of bacteria, but all are single-celled and fall into three basic shapes: spherical, straight rods, and spiral rods. Some rod-shaped bacteria are capable of existing in two forms, dormant spores and active vegetative cells. Vegetative cells form spores under adverse conditions as a means of survival. Spore forms preserve the bacteria from starvation, drying, freezing, chemicals, and heat. When conditions become favorable, the spores germinate, with each spore again becoming a vegetative cell with the ability to reproduce.

Yeasts are oval-shaped and slightly larger than bacteria. Molds (such as found on bread, fruit, surfaces) are composed of millions of cells joined together to form chains. Molds can survive in conditions too adverse for bacteria or yeasts. They reproduce by spores that are frequently present as green or black masses on the protruding hyphae. Yeasts and molds grow on most foods, on equipment, and surfaces where there are small amounts of nutrient and moisture. Since bacteria grow faster, they greatly outnumber yeasts and molds in most foods. However, bacteria find conditions of low pH, moisture, or temperature and high salt or sugar unfavorable. In such environments, yeasts or molds predominate. Thus, they can be a problem in dry foods, salted fish, bread, pickles, fruits, jams, jellies, yoghurts and similar commodities

Viruses are the smallest and simplest microorganisms. Unlike bacteria, yeasts, and molds, viruses are incapable of reproducing independently. Viruses invade host cells before they can multiply. Viruses are normally specific in their selection of host cells, some infecting one species, others capable of infecting closely related species. Viruses which infect bacteria cannot infect human beings or other animals. On the other hand, several animal viruses can infect human beings.

The viruses are important to the food process in two respects. At first, as bacteriophages of lactic or other fermentative bacteria. Bacteriophage infections of starter cultures can interfere seriously with the manufacture of cheese, buttermilk, sauerkraut, pickles, wine, beer, and other desirable fermentative products. Secondly, viruses that are transmitted by food to human beings. Viruses in food can remain viable for prolonged periods of time, even under harsh conditions, such as drying, freezing, and pasteurization.

The food processor generally reduces potential microbiological problems by removing or destroying microorganisms by process-related methods (washing, heating, chemicals, …), by minimizing contamination from equipment, people, the production environment, by minimizing microbial growth on equipment, by cleaning or by adjusting storage temperature, pH and other environmental factors.

It might be clear that the food processor requires the most robust techniques for microbial monitoring and control at the various stages of the food production processes and in the final transformed product.

CellMadeTM Laboratories’ excellent know-how in molecular biology make us the ideal partner to accompany you in your microbial monitoring programs. Beside the monitoring of the classical microbiological targets, CellMadeTM Laboratories has a strong focus on implementing methods for rapid monitoring of spoilage micro-organisms.