Workpackage 3

WP 3: Biological Hazards

To improve the knowledge about biological hazards properties and on-site and high throughput diagnostic methods for appropriate detection.


To characterize the biological properties and the development of reliable and standardized detection methods for biological hazards in spices and herbs. Further it will be ensured that new developed techniques will be based on the most current available diagnostic methods. A database will be established including existing sample preparation, purification and detection methods.


Several studies have been conducted on the microbiology of spices and herbs. It has been demonstrated that they can contain important and potential foodborne bacteria and toxigenic moulds. In total up to 100,000,000 colony forming units per gram raw material can be found in spices and herbs. Some microorganisms can survive a long period of time in dried products like spices due to their tolerance to high desiccation stress.


In the practical part on-site screening and detection methods will be investigated to ensure optimized testing of samples in surveillance and suspicious consignments. Additionally, high throughput detection methods will be developed and established for the generation of data about the prevalence and tenacity of respective biological agents. Of further interests are approaches with large prospects for the discrimination between living and non-living bacteria, which will be investigated for selected agents-condiment combinations.

Workpackage leader: BfR



Task 3.1 Conduction of tenacity studies (survival, processing, storage)
Task 3.2 Development of a database containing diagnostic methods
Task 3.3 Adaptation and optimization of sample preparation and detection methods
Task 3.4 Differentiation of living and non-living bacteria
Task 3.5 Development and evaluation of rapid qualitative on-site detection / screening methods for biological contaminants
Task 3.6 Development and evaluation of quantitative high-throughput detection methods for biological contaminants
Task 3.7 Standardization and harmonization of diagnostics (ring trial


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