Department of Meat Hygiene and Technology includes two Research Units: Unit of chemical and other analyses and Unit of microbiology and molecular biology.
Unit of chemical and other analyses is focused on systematic analysis of physical, chemical and sensory parameters of meat of various species of domestic animals, poultry, game and poikilothermic organisms, and on analysis of the meat products thereof.
The analyses include:
- various production and growth parameters
- nutrient content and meat components (qualitative and quantitative analyses)
- instrumental methods for sensory analysis (colour, texture)
- pH and various chemical analytes – ammonia, total volatile base nitrogen, trimethylamine, products of hydrolytical and oxidative degradation of fats (free fatty acids, hydroperoxides, malondialdehyde)
The main focus is on the dynamics of changes of these parameters under different conditions of sample treatment (cold storage), determination of shelf-life during experimental vacuum or modified atmosphere packaging, assessment of effect of various feed components and additives on meat quality, complex analysis of new breeds of fish, assessment of effect of changes in recipe on quality of meat products in order to assess the relationship between variability of environmental factors and values of the analysed parameters on the overall meat quality.
Unit of microbiology and molecular biology is focused on two main objectives in the research area of food safety and hygiene:
- incidence of contaminating microflora and incidence and modes of transmission of pathogenic microorganisms as causative agents of food-borne diseases from domestic animals via food chain to final consumer
- protection of consumers by verification of the correct species declaration in products containing animal tissue
The following pathogenic bacteria including emerging pathogens are monitored:
Campylobacter spp., Clostridium perfringens, Yersinia enterocolitica, Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli, Salmonella spp. and Helicobacter pullorum and H. canadensis in poultry, pigs and cattle husbandry and in human patients with confirmed alimentary disease.
Identification on species level, typization, eventually subtypization of isolates is performed using cultivation methods, biochemical tests and methods of molecular biology (PCR, PCR/RFLP, PFGE) for epidemiological studies and for assessment of possibilities and levels of contamination of animal products by pathogens during technological processing. Selected strains are tested for their antimicrobial resistance using agar dilution method and PCR detection of genes responsible for resistance, as the increasing resistance of pathogenic microorganisms complicates medical treatment of alimentary infections. In order to verify animal species declaration in meat products, methods of molecular biology (PCR, RFLP) based on DNA polymorphisms characteristic for each animal species are used. Verification of the correct beef gender declaration is based on the same principle. The aforementioned methods are used for samples containing tissue of significant domestic animals (cattle, pig, poultry, goat, sheep, etc.) and a wide range of marine fish regardless of the level of technological processing of the sample.
The department is also engaged in collaboration with application sphere (food industry - contract research).
The Unit of microbiology and molecular biology participates in the project CEITEC—Central European Institute of Technology (CZ.105/1.1.00/02.0068) financed by European Regional Development Fund.
Since 1st Jan 2016 our research group has become a part of a new research group Zoonoses.
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