Belgium: Biofilms in the food industry

In Belgium research has led to new insights into biofilms. Biofilms are difficult to remove from stainless steel surfaces in the food industry. This can partly be explained by the bacterial species that live together and their interactions. This new insight is the result of research in a collaboration between the ILVO research institute, the university of Leuven and the Danish university of Copenhagen. The conditions (temperature, humidity, organic material) in a dairy factory but also around a milking installation on a dairy farm are optimal for the growth of certain bacteria and the formation of biofilms. Whether a biofilm survives an antibacterial treatment is largely determined by the specific bacteria that live there and the way in which they interact, the research shows. The presence or absence of certain bacterial species can make a biofilm more resistant or vulnerable to disinfection. Certain bacteria, such as Microbacterium lacticum, can accelerate the growth of other bacteria and the formation of the biofilm.

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