Since the 1970s, our experts have been providing a unique food microbiology service for the Australian food industry. We specialise in investigating complex and obscure food safety and spoilage problems and provide consultant food safety assessments for your operations.

Food spoilage and identification services for the food industry

We provide microbial identification expertise, particularly in fungi, to support solutions in food contamination and spoilage. We work with all sectors of the Australian industry. Our expertise includes:

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  • diagnosis of spoilage problems involving bacteria, yeasts and moulds including thermophilic and other acid tolerant bacteria, heat resistant moulds and preservative-resistant yeasts 
  • identification of moulds, yeasts and bacteria from foods and related substrates
  • identification of Penicillium, Fusarium, Aspergillus and related genera from foods and related sources
  • isolation and identification of xerophilic fungi
  • DNA sequencing of moulds, yeasts and bacteria
  • mycotoxin analysis.

How we've helped the food industry

Our expertise in applied food microbiology is routinely utilised by a range of food and beverage manufacturers, including SMEs, to help understand the underlying factors that result in microorganisms persisting and growing in/spoiling products. We provide support by undertaking microbial challenge studies, factory/processing assessments, or more general food safety/spoilage assessments. Our services also extend to providing training and expert recommendations to assist businesses in overcoming problems. Some examples of success stories include:

  • Challenge testing of bio-protective culture efficacy in preventing spoilage in yogurt: working with a global yogurt company and ingredient supplier, we showed that a bio-protective culture did not prevent the growth of spoilage yeasts Yarrowia lipolytica and Saccharomyces cerevisiae under conditions designed to model the yogurt product cycle.
  • Mitigating heat resistant mould (HRM) spoilage in dairy products: by investigating the potential contributing factors for spoilage, i.e. raw materials, processing factors, potential for post-process contamination, we were able to provide recommendations that would eliminate HRM’s without compromising product quality.
  • Designing and testing the efficacy of novel wash regimes for controlling Fusarium banana wilt: we assisted the Australian banana industry to better understand the risk and control of Fusarium banana wilt, examining its control and prevention of spread, particularly during transportation and crate cleaning. Through validation studies we demonstrated the shortcomings of current practices and processes whilst highlighting the effectiveness of novel wash regimes for inactivating Fusarium, both in laboratory and factory settings. 

Our food research culture collection of fungal strains of importance to the food industry

Officially known as the FRR culture collection, our food research culture collection comprises fungal strains of importance in the food and related industries. It is a substantial and significant collection, particularly of spoilage organisms, and is registered with the World Federation of Culture Collections. It holds approximately 6000 yeasts and moulds, most of which are listed in the collection’s catalogue.

The collection specialises in Penicillium and Aspergillus species and their related teleomorphs, Eupenicillium, Talaromyces, Eurotium and Neosartorya. It also contains perhaps the most comprehensive collection of xerophilic fungi in the world, since these are of particular importance in the spoilage of processed foods and stored food commodities.

Supply of fungal cultures from the food research culture collection

We supply cultures from the collection to food companies and researchers for taxonomy, physiology, challenge testing, mycotoxin studies and other purposes.

Donating fungal cultures to the food research culture collection

We welcome deposits of relevant cultures to the collection, particularly where these are derived from Australian sources or within the Asian Pacific region. We are especially interested in strains of new species, extype cultures, strains with defined industrial and physiological properties, and unusual strains from foods, particularly low water activity foods.

How to search the collection and order fungal cultures

To search the collection and order fungal cultures, visit the food research culture collection shop:

For more information about our food microbiology services for industry, contact

  • Mark Wilson View profile External link

    - OCEANS & ATMOSPHERE

    Mark is a microbiologist in the Food Safety and Stability Group of the CSIRO. Mark leads the Microbiology Services team which investigates microbial food spoilage issues for the food and beverage industry, with specific expertise in fungal taxonomy and the role of yeasts and moulds in food spoilage. Mark is also the curator of CSIRO’s Fungal Culture Collection which contains over 6000 isolates important to the food industry (available for distribution both nationally and internationally). Mark also works on a number of projects related to assessing the microbiological safety and stability of foods and beverages, including microbiological challenge testing to assess the efficacy of formulation and processing hurdles.

Welcome to CSIRO's food innovation centre

Welcome to CSIRO's food innovation centre

[Music plays and CSIRO logo and text appears: Welcome to CSIRO’s food innovation centre]

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Narrator: Consumer demand for healthy, convenient, new and safe food products is rising and market growth in the Asian region is booming.

More than ever manufacturing innovation is critical for the Australian food industry to capture these opportunities and be globally competitive.

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At our Food Innovation Centre we work with the food and beverage manufacturing industry to meet these opportunities and add value to their business.

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We help companies innovate by creating next generation value added food products and ingredients, improving operating efficiencies, licensing ready to go technologies, making industry connections and adopting and developing new technologies and applications for safer, fresher, healthier and sustainably produced foods and more.

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In the last few years we’ve helped our clients create hundreds of millions of dollars in new food product and ingredient sales locally and in export markets.

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This includes more than 25 new products in the retail market nationally.

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Companies are invited to use our manufacturing equipment to develop and launch new products into the market or collaborate with us strategically on breakthrough technologies.

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Through our facilities in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney we have the most significant and extensive food innovation expertise available in Australia.

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Our pilot plants are unique facilities with a mix of conventional and emerging technologies supported by world class science.

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Our expertise in sensory, flavour, consumer science and food choices is unique helping companies develop new or redefine their existing products.  We help industry manage their food safety and product shelf life and meet food safety regulations in export markets.

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We’re also helping Australian food companies meet the rapidly growing demand in Asia for high value products.

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Our researchers help companies reformulate to reduce salt, sugar and fat and develop fortified products with functional health benefits while still meeting the taste preferences of consumers.

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We also work with manufacturers to substantiate food and ingredient health claims with expertise in lab scale analysis through to human nutrition trials.

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Whether you’re a small company with a novel idea or a large one looking to outsource key R and D services companies benefit every day from partnering with CSIRO.

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It all starts with a conversation.

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Welcome to CSIRO's food innovation centre for industry :  Find out how CSIRO's food innovation centre helps food and ingredient manufacturers

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We partner with small and large companies, government and industry in Australia and around the world.

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