Affects FAFSA food brands
"Stockmeier Science Award" for Dr. Maik Hilgarth
P R E S S E I N F O R M A T I O N
Bacteria against meat spoilage
Stockmeyer Science Award 2019 - Two first prizes with a total of 10,000 euros
for work to improve food safety
Two first prizes were awarded in 2019 - one of them to Dr. Maik Hilgarth
Meat is sensitive to spoilage - especially the cut surfaces in packaged portions offer
an ideal point of attack and an ideal nutrient medium for bacteria. Therefore, there is tons of meat
thrown away because it is no longer edible or the use-by date has expired. For extensive
Molecular biological studies on the distribution and importance of bacteria in protective gas
can spoil packaged beef, the molecular biologist Dr. Maik Hilgarth (Technical University of Munich
in Weihenstephan) a science award endowed with 5,000 euros from the Heinrich Stockmeyer
Foundation, endowment. He discovered so far not cultivated, cold-loving bacteria, identified strains that meat
Can protect against premature spoilage, and opened up opportunities to prevent meat spoilage
natural means to influence.
The Stockmeyer Science Prize will be presented as part of the 59th Food Hygiene Working Conference on
September 26, 2019 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen by the chairman of the board of trustees, Prof.
Dr. Manfred Gareis awarded. The first two prizes are endowed with 5,000 euros each. With the award, the non-profit Heinrich Stockmeyer Foundation wants to work with a particular practical relevance
and promote application-oriented research to achieve greater food safety and thus
contribute to increasing consumer confidence in the quality of food.
One of the two awardees is his work
Dr. Maik Hilgarth
Microbiologist, research group on microbiological food spoilage
at the chair for technical microbiology at the Technical University of Munich
Protect meat from spoilage with bacteria
More than a fifth of all food is thrown away - in German households every year around 6.6 million tons worth around 25 billion euros. Including meat, because beef in particular spoils quickly because it provides an ideal breeding ground for bacterial spoilage pathogens. In order to reduce the spoilage of meat, it is packed in protective gas in addition to hygienic reasons. As part of his doctoral thesis at the Technical University of Munich, the molecular biologist Maik Hilgarth examined the microbiota of beef packed with protective gas and found a method to use such bacteria in a targeted manner and to delay the spoilage processes in meat packed with protective gas.
Does working with foul smelling meat spoil your appetite? “No,” says Hilgarth. “But I watch out for certain noticeable changes, regardless of the date. Because even after it has expired that is
Meat is often still flawless. ”As part of his doctoral thesis, Maik examined and identified Hilgarth
a multitude of germs: Hundreds of meat packages yielded around 25,000 isolates, which he cultivated in suitable culture media and in them tracked down the typical meat spoilers. The researchers usually cultivate the suspicious bacteria at 25 ° C or higher. But temperatures are lower in the refrigerator. Organisms can grow here that cannot be detected at high temperatures. Hilgarth therefore developed an isolation process at 15 ° C, with a special nutrient medium, and discovered previously unknown photobacteria that are ubiquitous on beef, but which he was also able to detect on pork and chicken. These glowing bacteria were previously only known from the deep sea, where the water temperature is as low as in the refrigerator. Which bacteria grow when, at which stage of spoilage? Hilgarth used a special mass spectrometry method to determine a kind of fingerprint of the proteome, i.e. all proteins of the respective bacteria. He specifically inoculated meat samples with selected bacteria in order to follow their growth. In doing so, certain lactic acid bacteria conspicuously prevailed against all six bacteria competing for the nutrients, which were also applied in different experiments; they suppressed the growth of other bacteria, which can lead to premature spoilage of the meat and, in some cases, to health. These “good” bacteria themselves left the beef rather inconspicuous
Based on these research results, Hilgarth developed the approach for a process in which such bacteria could be applied to the meat immediately after slaughtering, thus protecting packaged meat from premature spoilage in a natural way - by specifically suppressing "bad" competition . This method is now to be tested in cooperation with a company.
Maik Hilgarth, born in 1985, first studied biology, then biochemistry and molecular biology at the
University of Bayreuth. After graduating with the “Master of Science”, he began in 2014 with the
PhD thesis on the subject of “Meat-spoiling psychrotrophic and psychrophilic microbiota
beef packaged in protective gas ”at the Chair of Technical Microbiology at the Technical University of Munich, which he
Graduated with “Summa cum laude” at the end of 2018. Since then he has headed the microbiological research group there
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