Success Stories

Potential Gains in the Plant

High-performing methods for controlling bacteriophages in dairy plants

A research project supported by Novalait has brought to light the primary sources of contamination by bacteriophages in plants and has identified the best strategies for controlling them. Out of the 23 commercial sanitizers tested as part of the project, three formulations proved to be particularly effective. The research results are of interest to all processors, both large and small. Between 0.1% and 10% of dairy fermentations experience bacteriophage-related problems every year. Preventing losses associated with bacteriophage contamination, just in terms of raw materials, could represent more than $15,000 for a 20,000-litre tank. Added to this are disposal costs, losses in production time and additional cleaning and disinfection costs, as well as lost sales.

«In my research laboratory, which must meet the highest safety standards, I use the best sanitizers identified as part of this research project.» Sylvain Moineau, Holder of the Canada Research Chair in Bacteriophages, Université Laval


Genomic tools at the service of cheese production

The five years of work completed by the Industrial Research Chair in Cheese Technology and Typicity (2006–2011) were rich in discoveries and professional training. The Chair specifically developed tools to genetically profile fungal communities in Camembert cheese. This unprecedented information makes it possible to proactively detect the fungal flora responsible for contamination, fermentation deviations and lot conformity. Molecular markers of the activity of Camembert’s fungal flora were also developed in order to optimize ripening parameters and complete simulations in the lab. The cheeses were produced using a combination of multiple starter cultures and molecular tools were validated to identify compatible and complementary lactic strains.

When it comes to mastering production processes, the fast and early detection of fungal contaminations has the potential of reducing losses. In 2012, the value of retail sales of soft cheeses produced in Quebec totalled $128 million. A 0.5% reduction in production losses would have a potential economic impact estimated at $600,000.