Concurrent Session VI: Microbiome's Place in Meat

Concurrent Session Sponsored by:

Join us as Dr. Dittoe outlines the potential of microbiome sequencing in the meat industry emerges as a powerful tool for tracing contamination, understanding spoilage patterns, and developing targeted intervention strategies. Dr. Furbeck will emphasize the importance of microbiome-based approaches in extending the shelf-life of processed meats by identifying and combating specific spoilage organisms. Concluding this session will be Dr. Belk's research that will shed light on the complex microbial communities within meat processing facilities and their interactions with pathogens like Listeria monocytogenes, offering insights into improving food safety and quality

What Can The Microbiome Do For The Industry?
Speaker: Dana Dittoe, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Meat Microbiology, University of Wyoming

In the past ten years, next-generation sequencing technology has improved drastically, becoming more financially affordable for research and industry use. Therefore, the ability to delineate and explore the microbiota of livestock and subsequent protein products has expanded significantly. Despite these advancements, the microbiome has been underutilized in the meat industry. Therefore, we aim to describe the key benefits of utilizing microbiome sequencing in the meat industry. The microbiome “toolbox” will be described with a brief overview of how the microbiome can help industry and research personnel 1) trace spoilage or pathogen contamination during processing, 2) understand spoilage patterns of new formulations, and 3) develop targeted pathogen and spoilage intervention strategies.

Know Your Enemy – Microbiome Investigations in Commercial Context
Speaker: Rebecca Furbeck, Ph.D., Research and Development Scientist, Kerry

Producing high quality proteins, that deliver on quality, safety, and minimize loss to food waste is paramount in today’s world. For meat processors, this means considering the risks imparted by pathogens and specific spoilage organisms. Fortunately, microbiome-based approaches allow us to view the invisible microscopic world of meat systems. This allows for more targeted shelf-life extension of processed meats through use of ingredients known to suppress specific spoilage organisms of interest.  Dr. Furbeck will guide RMC attendees on which microbes may impact their products, how to best identify them, and science-led approaches to combat their outgrowth.

Contributions of the Meat Processing Built Environment Microbiome to Pathogen Persistence
Speaker: Aeriel Belk, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Auburn University

Meat processing facilities create a perfect niche environment for microbial growth and persistence, both freely and in biofilms. These organisms exist in complex communities, characterized by cooperation and competition, and we are trying to understand how these dynamics are impacted by the introduction of pathogens like Listeria monocytogenes. In this presentation, we will introduce you to our current knowledge of the meat processing microbiome and our new work on the microbial interactions within it when pathogens are introduced. We will discuss how resilient these microbiomes are and environmental features that could be harnessed to alter them to improve food safety and quality in meats.