This project will develop and test the effectiveness of a tailored “cocktail” of bacteriophages in preventing or delaying the growth of bacteria which spoil langoustines and reduce product quality.
The Norway lobster (langoustines; Nephrops norvegicus) constitutes the second most valuable fishery in the UK (£91M first sale). However, Norway lobsters, like other shellfish are highly perishable due to rapid post-harvest bacterial growth. Spoilage bacteria are generally not harmful but degrade the product causing unpleasant odours and negative consumer responses. Currently, refrigeration and freezing storage are the most common forms of preservation. However, refrigeration only provides limited shelf-life and frozen products are perceived as low quality which lowers their market price.
To address this, in this project we will develop a tailored bacteriophage-technology for the shelf-life extension of langoustines. Bacteriophages are naturally occurring biological entities that kill bacterial cells. This approach has been shown to be ideal for food preservation due to its efficacy at targeting specific spoilage bacterial while not changing the sensory properties of the product and due to its safety (harmless to eukaryotic organisms and having no detrimental effect to non-target microbiota).
Previous work carried out in the feasibility study (FS155) characterised the ‘culprit bacteria’ responsible for spoilage in Norway lobster and isolated several phages that effectively inhibited the growth of specific spoilage bacteria isolated from spoiled samples.
In this project, we will build upon the biological resources and data obtained in the feasibility study (FS155) to develop a tailored-phage-cocktail for Norway lobster products by isolating and characterising further phages from relevant samples, mapping the bacterial contribution of degradation compounds and testing the effectiveness of different phages to prevent/delay the generation of such compounds.
University of Stirling