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Bacterial biofilms: cooperative bugs cling to food surfaces even after cleaning

Current cleaning and disinfection practices in food industries are insufficient to destroy unwanted bacteria lurking on surfaces, according to recent Belgian research. Cooperation between diverse types of bacteria makes them stronger and more resilient, causing huge damage in terms of food spoilage, recalls, and health issues. Understanding the development of these microbial communities and their underlying cooperation is vital for assuring food safety, and may lead to developing better forms of biocontrol.
Much has been said about the huge economic potential of algae, but this ‘green gold’ has yet to meet expectations. The European project IDEA – led by Belgian research center VITO – is examining the economic benefits of microalgae and developing strategies to overcome remaining challenges. Interim results show that algae can very well be grown in the climate of Northwestern Europe and can be used to efficiently produce products such as healthy biscuits, animal feed and cosmetic applications.
Researchers have identified the bitter substances in Belgian endives and chicory. Using the gene-editing technique CRISPR/Cas9, they have also succeeded in eliminating them. The result is a less bitter vegetable that may be more appetizing to children and adults alike. The catch? Outdated EU gene editing laws present a major roadblock for any company looking to actually produce the vegetables in Europe.
To meet the challenges of climate change and global food demand, more VCs are investing in AgTech companies. A lot of these companies are using genetic modification to create better plant-based alternatives for animal products. One US company, Nobell Foods, is even developing casein-producing soybean plants that can be used to make plant-based cheese that tastes and melts like the real deal.
Prof. Kevin Verstrepen, of the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology, has received a prestigious ERC Proof of Concept grant for the SUPERYEAST project. The goal is to develop industrial yeast strains that are easier to grow, which would increase the efficiency and sustainability of processes in a whole array of sectors. Notably, the research could enhance the production of fermented beverages like beer and wine, foods including bread and chocolate, and fuels like bioethanol.
Ghent, Belgium, 8 April 2021 - Today V-Bio Ventures announces its investment in Ghent-based company Protealis, a new spin-off from VIB and ILVO. Inspired by the mission to grow more sustainable plant-based proteins locally, Protealis aims to harvest the full potential of legume crops. With innovative breeding technologies and proprietary seed coatings, Protealis will create new opportunities for European farmers to help overcome Europe’s protein deficit. The initial focus is to develop high-yielding, high-protein soybean varieties. V-Bio Ventures led the EUR 6 million seed financing round joined by Agri Investment Fund (AIF), Participatiemaatschappij Vlaanderen (PMV), Estari Group, Globachem Group, Gemma Frisius Fund and VIB. The capital will support the company’s plans to further develop its proprietary technology, expand its crop portfolio and bring the first soy varieties adapted to local needs to the market by 2022.
Good science takes many hands. In the case of a new citizen science project by VIB, UGent, ILVO, KU Leuven, the hands they were after were green-thumbed individuals in Flanders. The institutes have recruited gardeners to plant soybeans, in the hope of identifying microbial species in soils across Flanders that promote the growth of the vital crop. The ultimate aim is to increase sustainable soy production in the region.
The Walloon region is taking major steps towards becoming an important player in the business of plant-based proteins. In the next few months, two of the region’s public investment funds, Sogepa and SRIW, plan to establish a start-up company in this booming field. In the long term, the goal is to create an entire ecosystem around the use of plant proteins as meat replacements, benefiting the economy, health and sustainability of the whole area.
In mid-2021, research institute VIB will open its brand-new agbiotech incubator. The new complex will provide entrepreneurs with access to high-tech facilities to work on sustainable agricultural innovations, like solutions to make plants more resistant to drought. The incubator will be housed in the former CropDesign site of multinational BASF in Nevele, Belgium.
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Current cleaning and disinfection practices in food industries are insufficient to destroy unwanted bacteria lurking on surfaces, according to recent Belgian research. Cooperation between diverse types of bacteria makes them stronger and more resilient, causing huge damage in terms of food spoilage, recalls, and health issues. Understanding the development of these microbial communities and their underlying cooperation is vital for assuring food safety, and may lead to developing better forms of biocontrol.
Much has been said about the huge economic potential of algae, but this ‘green gold’ has yet to meet expectations. The European project IDEA – led by Belgian research center VITO – is examining the economic benefits of microalgae and developing strategies to overcome remaining challenges. Interim results show that algae can very well be grown in the climate of Northwestern Europe and can be used to efficiently produce products such as healthy biscuits, animal feed and cosmetic applications.
Researchers have identified the bitter substances in Belgian endives and chicory. Using the gene-editing technique CRISPR/Cas9, they have also succeeded in eliminating them. The result is a less bitter vegetable that may be more appetizing to children and adults alike. The catch? Outdated EU gene editing laws present a major roadblock for any company looking to actually produce the vegetables in Europe.
To meet the challenges of climate change and global food demand, more VCs are investing in AgTech companies. A lot of these companies are using genetic modification to create better plant-based alternatives for animal products. One US company, Nobell Foods, is even developing casein-producing soybean plants that can be used to make plant-based cheese that tastes and melts like the real deal.
Prof. Kevin Verstrepen, of the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology, has received a prestigious ERC Proof of Concept grant for the SUPERYEAST project. The goal is to develop industrial yeast strains that are easier to grow, which would increase the efficiency and sustainability of processes in a whole array of sectors. Notably, the research could enhance the production of fermented beverages like beer and wine, foods including bread and chocolate, and fuels like bioethanol.
Ghent, Belgium, 8 April 2021 - Today V-Bio Ventures announces its investment in Ghent-based company Protealis, a new spin-off from VIB and ILVO. Inspired by the mission to grow more sustainable plant-based proteins locally, Protealis aims to harvest the full potential of legume crops. With innovative breeding technologies and proprietary seed coatings, Protealis will create new opportunities for European farmers to help overcome Europe’s protein deficit. The initial focus is to develop high-yielding, high-protein soybean varieties. V-Bio Ventures led the EUR 6 million seed financing round joined by Agri Investment Fund (AIF), Participatiemaatschappij Vlaanderen (PMV), Estari Group, Globachem Group, Gemma Frisius Fund and VIB. The capital will support the company’s plans to further develop its proprietary technology, expand its crop portfolio and bring the first soy varieties adapted to local needs to the market by 2022.
Good science takes many hands. In the case of a new citizen science project by VIB, UGent, ILVO, KU Leuven, the hands they were after were green-thumbed individuals in Flanders. The institutes have recruited gardeners to plant soybeans, in the hope of identifying microbial species in soils across Flanders that promote the growth of the vital crop. The ultimate aim is to increase sustainable soy production in the region.
The Walloon region is taking major steps towards becoming an important player in the business of plant-based proteins. In the next few months, two of the region’s public investment funds, Sogepa and SRIW, plan to establish a start-up company in this booming field. In the long term, the goal is to create an entire ecosystem around the use of plant proteins as meat replacements, benefiting the economy, health and sustainability of the whole area.
In mid-2021, research institute VIB will open its brand-new agbiotech incubator. The new complex will provide entrepreneurs with access to high-tech facilities to work on sustainable agricultural innovations, like solutions to make plants more resistant to drought. The incubator will be housed in the former CropDesign site of multinational BASF in Nevele, Belgium.