Food Factory Genomics: Where Big Data Drives Quality and Food Safety
Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 37, no. 5, pp. 368-374, Sep 2017
Volume 37, Issue 5: Pages 368–374
Recent advances in tools for use in molecular genetics have opened new doors for developing safer foods. More information is available not only about the essence of the composition of our foods but also about the genetics of the unseen microbial world that influences the safety and quality of our food. Microbial analysis is an integral part of maintaining food quality and safety from farm to table. Isolation, enumeration and cultural methods have long been the pillars of the methodology that food microbiologists use to measure quality and safety parameters. Although they are powerful tools, they are time consuming and cumbersome, making it difficult to keep pace with the rapid advances in molecular genetics. Moreover, the need for rapid turnaround in pathogen detection, especially with regard to potential production failures, can be expensive when business processes are slowed by the observation time for a microbial colony’s growth. Genomic sequencing technologies have revolutionized the availability of information, giving depth to our understanding of the microbiological world, and food factories are ripe for using this information to use their testing budgets more efficiently. We outline some of the principles of genomic tools that might benefit the intelligent factory of the future.
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