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New Insights and Applications in the Prevention of Food comtamination by Fungi (FQS 69) - FT1027

The extent of contamination of foods by fungi (both yeasts and filamentous fungi) is increasing. This is resulting in erosion of food quality and raising the potential for increased food safety problems. Weak acid preservatives, e.g. sorbic acid, are widely used to combat the fungal contamination of foods but are not wholly effective. Although the weak acid stress experienced by fungi in response to sorbic acid has been well-explored in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, this yeast is atypical because, unlike filamentous fungi and many other yeasts, it cannot degrade sorbic acid. This project will explore and explain the molecular basis of sorbic acid stress in fungi and determine the mechanism by which fungi degrade sorbic acid. To achieve this goal, we will bring together a consortium of partners with expertise from the industrial applications as well as in research with fungi at the molecular level. We will exploit the newly-available genome sequence of Aspergillus niger and gene chips for that species. This new knowledge will be exploited in the formulation of new control measures for reducing the spoilage of food, and lowering the potential associated health hazard, by fungi. A major strength of the proposal lies in the integration of basic science with the expertise of the three companies involved in the project: Unilever, DSM and Mologic (an SME).
1. New scientific knowledge of how, at the molecular level, fungi respond to the stress of exposure to sorbic acid.
2. New scientific knowledge of how fungi degrade the weak acid preservative, sorbic acid.
3. New strategies for preserving foods against spoilage by fungi and reducing associated safety concerns.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2005

To: 2008

Cost: £294,060
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Nottingham, Mologic Ltd, DSM Food Specialities BV, Unilever UK Central Resources
Environmental Performance              
Food and Drink              
Food Chain              
Food Hygiene              
Food Industry Sustainability Strategy              
Food Ingredients              
Food manufacturing industry              
Food Processing Sciences              
Food Quality              
Food Safety              
Toxic Substances              
Fields of Study
Resource Efficient and Resilient Food Chain