Leilei Li

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Traditional fermented foods are appreciated by the consumer for their organoleptic and health promoting characteristics. In such products it is often unclear which microorganisms and metabolites are responsible for their characteristics. The present project aims to develop and validate a new strategy to analyse this microbiological and metabolic potential more efficiently in order to develop functional starter cultures with applications in food industry.

The project will focus on the industrially important acetic acid bacteria (AAB). An intelligent high-throughput (IHT) strategy will be developed for the inventorization of the cultivable AAB populations in traditional fermented foods of diverse biological and geographic origin. The IHT-strategy is based on the integrated use of an automated colony picker for the isolation and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry for dereplication and identification. The food samples will also be subjected to a functional analysis by means of polyphasic, high-throughput approaches based on metabolite target analysis and transcriptome analysis.

This study is funded by the Chinese Scholarschip Counsil and co-funded by the Ghent University Research Council.