Join our Anti-Clostridium Solutions Clean Label Project

16 Mar 2016

TNO starts a unique research project to develop new anti-clostridial solutions using novel natural preservation strategies and invites you to join. With consumer demand for clean labels, milder processed and healthier foods, microbial food spoilage has reappeared on the innovation agenda. Especially, Clostridium botulinum gains renewed attention. Traditional approaches don't meet current clean label demands. They require new solutions.

Traditional approaches preventing C. botulinum spore outgrowth, such as stringent processing (‘botulinum cook’) and the use of artificial ingredients such as nitrite, do not meet current clean label consumer demands. Meeting these demands requires new anti-clostridial solutions using novel natural preservation strategies. The addition of preservatives to food products is not without reason. Food spoilage by micro-organisms or even worse, growth of pathogenic organisms has been a major problem for human kind for ages. In many cases this leads mainly to a quality issue but in the case of C. botulinum this may lead to very serious health concerns since the botulinum toxin is one of the most potent toxins on earth. Natural preservative solutions to prevent C. botulinum growth and botulinum toxin production are currently lacking.

Clostridium Botulinum

This bacterium appears in two types: a proteolytic type (group I) which grows above 10°C and a non-proteolytic type (group II) which grows above 3°C. Especially the latter group is a big concern since it has the ability to grow in refrigerated products which cannot or are not subjected to the botulinum cook, a stringent processing step (10 minutes 90°C) which is able to destroy group II spores. Main product groups at risk are meat products, fish and freshly prepared refrigerated food products with prolonged shelf life. Omitting preservatives from such products would lead to very rapid spoilage which is unacceptable from an economic and sustainability point-of-view.

Innovation required

TNO has planned to execute a unique shared research project to acquire natural solutions that can preserve your product in a clean label manner. The consortium research project aims at developing a platform technology to ef˜ ciently identify ingredients with anti-clostridial properties which either target spore germination or outgrowth of  vegetative cells. Application of the identified in novel solutions to model food products of the industrial consortium partners will be part of the project.

TNO has considerable knowledge and experience in implementing newly developed preservation strategies in a wide variety of products and processes. Screening conditions should mimic the biology of real-life conditions as much as
possible. Medium throughput platforms based on molecular analysis of bacterial growth will be developed and employed taking these criteria into consideration.

Type of partners

We foresee the following categories of consortium partners:

  • Suppliers of natural ingredients acting as preservatives and colorants
  • Meat product producers aiming at clean label alternatives for nitrite
  • Freshly prepared refrigerated food producers with prolonged shelf life
  • Fish industry looking for novel anticlostridial solutions

Do you want to join?

For more information please contact Joost Blankestijn.

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