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:
- 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
- microbiological challenge testing.
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 yoghurt: working with a global yoghurt 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, this is a substantial and significant collection holding 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: