Using Light to Fight Dangerous Microorganisms on Eggshells
Research project at Freie Universität Berlin to reduce microorganisms on eggshells receives grant from German Federal Office for Agriculture and Food
№ 040/2019 from Feb 18, 2019
The German Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) is supporting the work of a research group at Freie Universität Berlin aiming to reduce the number of microorganisms on eggshells. Over the next two and a half years, using ultraviolet light, the scientists will develop a novel method that is expected to significantly reduce so-called zoonotic pathogens on eggshells. Many of these microbes can cause infectious diseases in humans and may seriously endanger their health. The project is being conducted in cooperation with four other partners. It is being led by Prof. Dr. Uwe Rösler, the director of the Institute for Animal Hygiene and Environmental Health, in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Thomas Alter, the director of the Institute of Food Hygiene, both at Freie Universität Berlin. The German Federal Office for Agriculture and Food is supporting the research with a grant of roughly 141,000 euros. The method being developed should also find application in other areas. Another research project at Freie Universität that is being led by Prof. Dr. Thomas Alter in cooporation with Prof. Dr. Uwe Rösler and Prof. Dr. Marcus Fulde from the Institute of Microbiology and Epizootics is aiming to decontaminate contact surfaces in food processing with ultraviolet light.
Microorganisms settle on the shells of eggs for human consumption, as on the surfaces of all natural foods. Some of these microorganisms, or zoonotic agents, such as salmonella or campylobacter, can cause infection and disease in humans. Some of them are also resistant to antibiotics, which can lead to serious risks for human and animal health on a global scale. Existing methods of controlling zoonotic pathogens at egg farms can reduce the massive spread of the pathogens, but their complete removal from the food chain is not currently possible. Therefore, within the project called “UVegg” the research team at Freie Universität in cooperation with its partners is developing a new decontamination procedure for table eggs. The scientists expose the shells of the eggs to short-wave ultraviolet light (UV-C) to kill dangerous zoonotic microorganisms. The light beams are emitted from newly developed light emitting diodes (LEDs). This energy-efficient method also contributes to the sustainability of the process. The project is currently in its development phase, and the method still needs to be further investigated and tested for its practical use.
Another research project being conducted by Freie Universität, in cooperation with three research partners, is based on the principles of UVegg and broadens the application of the UVC-LED technology. The team is led by Prof. Dr. Thomas Alter and conducted in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Uwe Rösler and Prof. Dr. Marcus Fulde from the Institute of Microbiology and Epizootics. The KONTRA project is intended to make it possible to efficiently decontaminate technical contact surfaces in food processing, for example, in the production of sausage, milk, or meat products. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has granted Freie Universität roughly 100,000 euros to conduct this research. The researchers expect that both methods will help improve hygiene in food processing and enhance consumer protection.
- For UVegg: Prof. Dr. Uwe Rösler, Institute of Microbiology and Epizootics, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-51830, Email: email@example.com
- For KONTRA: Prof. Dr. Thomas Alter, Institute of Food Hygiene, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-62560, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org