The SYMBIOSIS-EU project will bring together 14 beneficiaries from 6 EU countries (plus one each from NZ and US) to study meat safety & quality. The overall aim is to identify and quantitatively evaluate practical and easy to use chemical, biochemical and molecular indices and establish their applicability as quality monitors for inspection of meat safety and quality. The project will apply a multidisciplinary systemwide approach relying on converging technologies (bioinformatics, nanotechnology, modelling) to obtain knowledge for meat safety that will be translated into simple devices and practical indicators of quality and safety. The main objectives are (i) to develop and/or validate easy to use chemical/biochemical methods (e.g. biosensors, fluorescence, FT-IR), molecular methods (DNA, microarrays), (ii) to develop a suitable software platform for data sharing and integration, (iii) to apply multivariate statistical methods and machine learning (neural networks, fuzzy logic, genetic algorithms) to identify robust multiple compound quality indices, (iv) integration of the sensors and information platform and development of a system to automatically transform data acquired from a sample into a “diagnosis” of meat safety and quality. The project plan designed to meet these objectives comprises 3 pillars: 1 Microbial status and major metabolomic and molecular profiling of spoilage bacteria 2 Development of an easy to use integrated system to monitor meat safety and quality 3 Development of protocols for simple, effective and cheap evaluation of meat quality and safety in industry, based on new indices of quality and safety relying on detection of metabolites by simple sensors, driven by user friendly software that facilitates practical use of the developed methods. The project will be of benefit to the EU meat industry, providing useful tools and fundamental knowledge of the spoilage and hazard. It will also impact on the research and informatics communities.
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