Food Safety

Developing rapid pathogen detection workflows from food is one of our research goals. Some of our current research also focusses on the use of plant-based antimicrobials to extend the overall shelf-life of foods.

Maintaining microbial quality of food and drinks is challenging!

The processing method used as well as differences in the ingredients can affect the overall microbial safety of the product. In addition, presence of probiotic or prebiotic supplements in the final product and their impacts on other microflora often needs to be substantiated using laboratory experiments. Use our CASS expertise to help solve your microbial food safety challenges.


CASS has expertise in many aspects of microbial food safety including investigating the microbial safety of food products and overall processing hygiene, to testing samples for presence of foodborne pathogens. Explore our capabilities below.

Isolation and identification of microbes from complex foods can prove to be challenging  and often needs to be customised depending on the food matrix and microbe of interest. In our laboratory we can  perform microbial testing for foodborne pathogens, spoilage microorganisms or probiotic bacteria using conventional culture-based and biochemical methods as well as  some of the more rapid methodologies such as PCR.

Our research lab also has a strong focus on developing novel and rapid workflows for microbial identification using some of the more recent omics approaches. We have a well-equipped analytical laboratory to support this research.

At CASS we can also assess the microbial load in food samples by performing total plate counts and yeast and mould counts. We can also perform indirect measurements from environmental samples by  conducting ATP measurements. Assays for measuring metabolic activity of microbes exposed to different conditions of growth can also be performed.

Challenge studies are very useful in determining how different foods can support the growth of pathogenic or spoilage microbes. However, the experimental designs for challenge testing need to be considered on a case-by-case basis which requires a thorough dive into the process workflow. At CASS we can work with you  to choose the most relevant factors  (pH, temperature, storage period etc.) to perform challenge studies for your food product.

Novel formulations/applications for food preservatives or disinfectants used in processing environments need to be investigated for their antimicrobial efficacy. At CASS we can work around your needs and design experiments to challenge these antimicrobial with different microbes and microbial concentrations to check their efficacy using standard antimicrobial testing assays such as disk diffusion assays, broth microdilution assays, time-kill assays etc.

Our research lab has a keen interest in investigating the use of plant-based antimicrobials in foods and food –packaging to provide more sustainable alternatives to the food industry.

Publication highlights

Detection of foodborne pathogens using proteomics and metabolomics-based approaches

S Jadhav, R Shah, A Karpe, P Morrison, K Kouremenos, D Beale, E Palombo
(2018), Vol. 9, Frontiers in microbiology, Lausanne, Switzerland, C1

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A comparative study of the modulation of the gut microbiota in rats by dietary intervention with different sources of egg-white proteins

Journal of the science of food and agriculture, vol. 100, no. 9, pp. 3622-3629, doi: 10.1002/jsfa.10387.

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Utilizing the Food–Pathogen Metabolome to Putatively Identify Biomarkers for the Detection of Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli (STEC) from Spinach

Jadhav SR, Shah RM, Karpe AV, Barlow RS, McMillan KE, Colgrave ML, Beale DJ. (2021). Vol. 11, No. 2. pp. 67. Metabolites.

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Identification of putative biomarkers specific to foodborne pathogens using metabolomics

Book chapter
S Jadhav, R Shah, A Karpe, D Beale, K Kouremenos, E Palombo
(2019), Vol. 1918, pp. 149-164, Foodborne bacterial pathogens : methods and protocols, New York, N.Y., B1

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Use our expertise to investigate the microbial safety of your food products and overall processing hygiene.