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6 Apr 2017

The EuFooD-STA Webinar "Sporeforming bacteria in food : Detection, identification and means of control" took place 6 April 2017 at 3 PM CET.

Bacterial spores are among the most difficult to destroy in foods, being resistant to heat, radiation, chemicals, including disinfectants/sterilising agents, acids, dehydration, etc.. The group of spore-forming bacteria (Bacillus & Clostridium are the main genera) contains both spoilage and pathogenic organisms, the latter by production of some of the most powerful natural toxins known. Food poisoning is the result of ingestion of pre-formed toxin in food, or toxin production during growth in the GI tract. Spoilage of canned foods is either by production of acids alone (B. stearothermophilus in low acid foods) or vigorous gas and H2S production (as by clostridia). Several species of spore-formers cause animal and human infections, e.g. anthrax (B. anthracis), tetanus (C. tetani), gas gangrene (C. perfringens and some other species of clostridia), and severe infections of the skin and underlying muscles in cattle and sheep (e.g. C. septicum, C. oedematiens). The spoilage species cause problems in heat-treated foods, e.g.. pasteurised products and canned (‘fully heat processed’) products. There are also Bacillus species that can be very useful, e.g. insect pathogens that have been used as ‘biological pesticides’, some clostridia produce useful products from sugar metabolism, e.g.. propanol, butanol, acetone etc. In this webinar it is aimed to present a general overview of basic characteristics of sporeforming bacteria and their spores, diseases caused including examples of recent outbreaks, types of spoilage, isolation methods from foods as well as control measures.


Paula Teixeira - a graduate of Escola Superior de Biotecnologia (ESB) of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa (UCP) with a B.Sc. in Food Engineering (1990) and a PhD in Biotechnology (1995 -  has been an Assistant Professor in Food Microbiology at ESB-UCP since 2005 having previously been a Senior Consultant on Food Safety at the same institution. She has held a number of coordination positions at the ESB-UCP, including Coordinator of Pos-graduation Course in Food safety from 2002 until the present date. Paula Teixeira has participated in and led a large number of research projects (Portuguese and International both as a coordinator and partner (and evaluator), in the area of Food Microbiology/Food Safety. She has been author/co-author of several book chapters and original articles in peer reviewed journals. She has been Associate Editor of Frontiers in Food Microbiology, Member of the Editorial Board of International Journal of Food Microbiology and Food Microbiology. Paula Teixeira supervised several externally funded research fellowships, as well as several successfully concluded PhD and Master theses.

Paul A. Gibbs graduated University of Reading 1960 BSc and 1968 PhD with research on the Germination of Clostridial spores. Employed at Wellcome Research Labs., UK 1960 ­ 1968, Queen¹s University and Dept., Agriculture & Food Science, Belfast, NI, 1968 ­ 1978; Leatherhead Food Research, UK 1978-2000;  Consultant to present date; EC Senior Research Fellow in Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Porto 1995-6; Consultant to date. Research topics: Clostridial spores, Aerobic culture for vaccines; Fluorescent antibody technique, for Salmonella detection; poultry strains of Staph aureus; meat spoilage; EC-funded projects including:-bottled water microbiology & safety; safety of cold-smoked fish; packaged meat & fish microbiology and safety; 'Sous vide; foods. Supervision/ Co -supervision of ESB Mestrado & PhD projects, including Listeria monocytogenes, anti-listerial bacteriocins, etc.

Recording and presentation: