Our applied research program is focused on the use of mathematics and statistics to understand and control foodborne microbes. Our research currently has two separate but interrelated thrust areas: predictive microbiology and quantitative microbial risk assessment.
We currently have four on-going predictive microbiology research projects.
The first project evaluates existing mathematical models for the growth of Clostridium spp. in meat products under changing temperatures. We have recently developed a new model for Clostridium perfringens, and are validating this model for it's suitability for predicting C. botulinum growth. The graduate student working on this project is Karla Mendoza-Morales.
The second project seeks to model the growth of pathogens and spoilage bacteria on raw poultry. The graduate student working on this project is Silvia Dominguez.
The third project seeks to validate published models for Listeria monocytogenes growth in ready-to-eat pocket sandwiches that are preserved using pH and water activity hurdles. This project is handled by my technician Kristin Schaffner.
The last project is on the microbial safety of sprouts. This is research that was conducted by Dr. Bin Liu as part of his Ph.D. We have one article published, and several more to be submitted soon
Our quantitative microbial risk assessment thrust area currently has several risk assessments underway.
We are using risk modeling techniques to better understand and manage the risk posed by deliberate contamination of the food supply. This project is funded by the National Center for Food Protection and Defense.
Visiting Korean scientist Dr. Minjeong Rho and I have recently had an article on the risk of Staphylococcus aureus in the popular Korean food Kimbab, which had been accepted for publication.
We are currently in the midst of a risk assessment for almond allergy. This project is funded by the Almond Board of California. We plan to use CREMe software to assist with this project.
We are also working on Listeria monocytogenes risk reduction at retail. This project is funded by Johnson Diversey.
We are also involved in a number of applied food microbiology projects including our usual work for the division of dining services. We also expect to publish the results of a survey of the microbiological quality of apple ciders produced in New Jersey.