“Open, regular dialogue underpins success”

Fungi’s heat-resistance makes them tough to control, making food processing and storage difficult. Unlike food-spoilage bacteria, they are relatively unexplored. TiFN’s Spores project (2016-2020), led by Professor Han Wösten, is researching heterogeneity between and within fungal strains.

Over the past three years we have developed a range of advanced methods to measure heterogeneity amongst fungal spores. We also demonstrated surprising and substantial heterogeneity in heat resistance between and within fungus strains. Processing environment and spore age do have a major influence. For industry partners the challenge now is to align their quality protocols with the most heat-resistant strains. In parallel, we will conduct further modelling and mechanistic studies, to facilitate quality prediction in common industrial processes, and further extend our fundamental knowledge base.

Successful consortium

In recent years we have had many meetings with our project partners. I believe this frequent dialogue helps the project run smoothly. Actually this is the most successful consortium that I have ever been involved with: results are delivered on time, team members are complementary in skills and get along well with each other, and industry partners are active and engaged. TiFN is facilitating the process well, via the A2R workshops for example, but also by keeping our partners closely involved from beginning to end.

I am confident that the project will enhance targeted control of fungal spores and deliver high-impact publications and leads for follow-up research.”

Han Wösten: Professor of Microbiology at Utrecht University and leader of the Spores project.