The preconference workshops will be taking place at the University of Burgos throughout the morning of July 8th.

Please find below all of the details:

Andreja Rajkovic
Ghent University. Belgium.

Workshop in organization of ICFMH and Horizon2020 project ImpTox

We are delighted to extend a warm welcome to you for the Workshop “Microplastics and Microbiome Interactions: Sharing Insights and Exploring New Pathways". Your participation adds tremendous value to our shared mission of exploring the fascinating intersection of microplastics and the presence of microorganisms for food safety and public health.

The interaction between microbial pathogens and microplastics is an emerging area of concern in food safety, environmental and public health. The association between these two entities can have several implications:

  1. Microplastics as Vectors of Pathogens: Microplastics can serve as a substrate or surface for the attachment and transport of microbial pathogens. When pathogens attach to microplastics, they can potentially survive for extended periods and be transported over long distances. This can contribute to the spread of diseases in aquatic ecosystems.
  2. Biofilm Formation: Microplastics provide a solid surface for the formation of biofilms, which are complex communities of microorganisms. These biofilms can include both harmless microorganisms and pathogenic ones. The biofilm structure can protect pathogens from environmental stresses, making them more resilient.
  3. Changes in Microbial Communities: Microplastics can alter the composition and diversity of microbial communities in various environments. This shift in microbial populations can influence the prevalence and behavior of pathogens.
  4. Transfer to Higher Trophic Levels: Microplastics and the microorganisms associated with them can be ingested by other organisms. If pathogens are present on microplastics, they can be transferred to higher trophic levels in the food web, potentially affecting the health of organisms, including humans.
  5. Role in Disease Transmission: While there is ongoing research in this area, it is possible that the presence of microplastics could contribute to disease transmission and possibly impact animal and human health.
  6. Role in antibiotic resistance: Microplastics can be a reservoir for Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (ARB) and these microplastic-bound ARB can serve as a reservoir for resistance genes. Also, associated biofilms can protect bacteria from the effects of antibiotics, making them more resistant to treatment.
  7. Facilitated Gene Transfer: Bacterial communities on microplastics can exchange genetic material, including antibiotic resistance and virulence genes.
  8. Modified virulence, toxin production, and quorum sensing among microorganisms found on microplastics.

During the workshop several researchers from the EU Horizon 2020 project Imptox, together with colleagues from other projects (e.g. from the CUSP platform) will present some of the latest findings that describe the state-of-the art of microplastics-microorganism interactions, as well as the direct toxicity of micro- and nanoplastics, which together form part of a multifaceted impact of MNPs on human health. If you are interested to present your work on this topic contact us at

ImpTox in the army of five: CUSP squad collects and analyzes data to decipher role of microplastics and nanoplastics in food safety and public health

Andreja Rajkovic. Ghent University. Belgium.


Can microplastics modulate the virulence of Listeria monocytogenes?

Irene Ortega Sanz. Ghent University. Belgium.


To swim or not to swim: Probing the influence of micro- and nanoparticles on male reproductive cell viability and how plastics react with Bacillus cereus cereulide

Bram Jacobs. Ghent University /Sciensano. Belgium.


Campylobacter jejuni and Pseudomonas spp: microplastic assisted spread, virulence, and persistence in poultry chain

Ziva Kolenc. University of Ljubljana. Slovenia.


Food-borne microbial contamination is a significant public health concern. In the last decades, non-thermal systems have emerged as a promising alternative to the use of conventional thermal processing methods for reducing microbial contamination in food products.

With this workshop, the novel approaches in non-thermal applications to inhibit foodborne microbial contaminations focusing on high pressure processing, pulsed electric fields and UV-C light are extensively discussed.

These three technologies have different mechanisms for inactivating microorganisms, but they have in common the possibility of extending the shelf life of certain foods without the negative effect that high temperature has on their nutritional and sensory properties.

Principles and Innovative Applications of High-Pressure Processing

Mario González. Hiperbaric.

Mario González is head of the HPP Food Applications department at Hiperbaric, where he coordinates the scientific and technological support activities oriented to high pressure processing (HPP) users. He has more than 8 years of combined research and industry experience in HPP food science. Mario holds Ph. D. degree in Food Microbiology (2021) from the University of Burgos (Spain). He focused his research on the validation of HPP technology for the safe production of low-acid beverages, with a special focus on coconut water and Clostridium botulinum. In this regard, he conducted research at KU Leuven (Belgium) and the Quadram Institute (UK).

The demand for minimally processed food with a clean label and fresher attributes is increasing. High Pressure Processing (HPP) is the most widely implemented nonthermal technology used to deliver preservative-free and mildly processed food by the inactivation of spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms. This technology fits a growing number of commercial applications including juices & beverages, guacamole & avocado produts, meat products, seafood, dairy, infant formulas, ready meals or even pet food. In order to overcome some of the limitations of HPP (such as the inactivation of bacterial spores), industrial solutions for the application of High Pressure Thermal Processing (HPTP) have been developed in recent years.

Microbial inactivation by Pulsed Electric Fields

Javier Raso Universidad de Zaragoza.

Javier Raso is a Full Professor and research leader at the Food Technology laboratory at the University of Zaragoza. He has been a visiting researcher of the Microbiology Department at Unilever Research in Bedford (UK), the Department of Food Biotechnology and Food Process Engineering at Technical University of Berlin (Germany), and the Biological Systems Engineering Department at Washington State University (USA). His research is focused on the field of food processing by thermal and non-thermal technologies with the aim of transferring basic knowledge to industrial processes in order to improve sustainability, food quality, and safety. He is the current president of the International Society of Electroporation-based Technologies and Treatments.

The presentation will provide an overview of the possibilities currently offered by the technology of pulsed electric fields (PEF) within the framework of microbial inactivation. The modes of action of PEF on microbial cells will be discussed, along with potential cell outcomes after the application of PEF. The critical factors affecting microbial inactivation will be presented. The limitations and challenges still presented by this technology will be discussed, as well as those research areas that require further investigation to adequately define process parameters for future industrial implementation.

UV-C light, a technology to inactivate microorganisms in liquid and solid food products

Ignacio Álvarez-Lanzarote Universidad de Zaragoza.

Ignacio Álvarez-Lanzarote is professor at the Veterinary School of University of Zaragoza (Spain), working in the field of non-thermal technologies such as Pulsed Electric Fields, ultrasound, UV-C, and ionizing radiation for more than 25 years. His interests are the application of these technologies for not only microbial inactivation for food preservation, but to improve the mass and energy transfer processes occurring in traditional preservation strategies (freezing, extraction, heating, etc.). He has published more than 120 JCR publications, advised 11 PhD Thesis, and participated in more than 45 research projects, and 90 projects with enterprises, and he is co-author of 5 patents.

In this presentation, a brief review of the UV-C light technology will be carried out including the mechanisms of action responsible of the inactivation of microorganisms and the main factors affecting its lethality when treating liquid and solid food products. The kinetics of microbial inactivation will be discussed and the followed strategies to improve its lethal efficiency based on both combined processed and the design of new UV-C systems. Finally, some examples of UV-C facilities and food products treated by the technology will be commented.

Organised by:
Martin Wagner and Rudolf Krska
Austrian Competence Centre for Feed and Food Quality, Safety and Innovation (FFOQSI).

The European Project Holifood

Ine van der Fels-Klerx Wageningen University and Wageningen Research, The Netherlands

The European Project FOODSAFER: What, Why and How.

Martin Wagner and Rudolf Krska University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna and Austrian Competence Centre for Feed and Food Quality, Safety and Innovation (FFOQSI), Tulln, Austria; University for Natural Resources and Life Science, Vienna

Analysis of drivers and indicators of food safety hazards and associated risks in the food chain

Liesbeth Jacxsens, Nina Hommels, Mathias Vermeesch Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Case studies of microbial emerging hazards/risks

Mieke Uyttendaele Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Case studies of chemical emerging hazards/risks

Michele Suman Barilla G. E R. Fratelli SPA, Parma, Italy

Bringing together the Food Safety community: how we can get it!

Oonagh McNerney IRIS Technology Solutions, Barcelona, Spain

Food Safety: a global perspective

Samuel Godefroy Food Risk Analysis and Regulatory Policies, Food Risk Analysis and Regulatory Excellence Platform (PARERA), Laval University, Quebec Canada.

Weihuan Fang
Zhejiang University, China

ICFMH will organize a Microbial Food Safety Workshop for Developing Countries right before the FoodMicro2024 conference in the morning of July 8, 2024 with the theme Opportunities for Mitigation of Foodborne Pathogens by Natural Preservatives.

Scientists from developing countries will be invited to present their recent work on natural preservative approaches, such as bacteriophages, probiotics, plant extracts, etc., to combat pathogenic organisms in foods. The main goals are to provide the opportunity for scientists from developed countries to consider research collaboration on potential mitigation technologies for production of safer foods in developing countries. All FoodMicro conference participants are welcome to attend, free of charge, this preconference workshop to foster partnership and future cooperation.

Probiotic Bacteria for Food Safety Applications

Ivan Muzira Mukisa. Department of Food Technology and Nutrition Makerere University Uganda.

Ivan Muzira Mukisa is an accomplished Food Microbiologist with a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Dr. Mukisa is currently serving as Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Food Technology and Nutrition, Makerere University, Uganda, His research primarily focuses on food safety, fermented foods, and functional foods including probiotics. He explores the probiotic attributes of the microorganisms studied and has studied the probotic potential of lactic acid bacteria isolated from traditional food products from Uganda. Dr. Mukisa has contributed significantly to his field, publishing over 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Bacteriophages: A Sustainable Tool to Promote Food Safety from Farm to Fork

Kitiya Vongkamjan Aurand Faculty of Agro-Industry Thailand.

Kitiya Vongkamjan is a distinguished scholar and researcher in the field of phage technology and applications. She earned her Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology from Cornell University, New York. Her research has been widely cited and has received recognition from the academic community for its innovative approach and rigorous methodology. She has published over 50 scientific publications in top-tier journals and 3 book chapters. Her research has contributed significantly to our understanding of the diversity and applications of phages to control bacterial pathogens from farm to fork and to promote One-Health. Dr. Vongkamjan is actively involved in professional organizations such as Royal Academy of Engineering and International Association for Food Protection (IAFP).

Bacteriophage: A Novel Biocontrol Approach - Advancements and Prospects in Africa

Christiana Cudjoe Dapuliga University of KwaZulu-Natal- South Africa.

Christiana Dapuliga is a microbiologist with interest in lytic bacteriophages and their potential applications in combatting foodborne pathogens and biofilms along the food chain. She has actively contributed to academic and research groups in Africa and Finland, focusing on exploring the efficacy of bacteriophages as biocontrol agents for various pathogens. Currently, she is involved in the PHEALING project, an EU-African collaborative initiative where she contributes to mitigating postharvest losses in economically significant crops through utilization of lytic bacteriophages. Christiana is one of the World Academy of Science (TWAS) doctoral scholars (Microbiology and Food Security) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Nature's Bioactive Arsenal: Exploring Plant-Derived Solutions for a Safer Food Supply

Hanen Falleh Laboratory of Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Biotechnology Center of Borj-Cédria - Tunisia.

Hanen Falleh is a leading Tunisian researcher dedicated to unlocking the potential of plant biomolecules for food safety. Dr. Falleh has over 15 years of expertise in this field. Her passion lies in extracting and analyzing phenolics and essential oils, nature's powerhouses against food spoilage. Through her research, Dr. Falleh actively contributes to finding sustainable and natural solutions to ensure food safety and minimize waste.

Please note that if you wish to register to one of the above-mentioned workshops, you will have to do so during the registration process (Only accepts payment by credit card).

If you have already been registered, you can sign-up to these workshops through your Personal Area.

Further information on the workshops will be available shortly.

Please take note that you will need to be registered in order to be able to attend these workshops. You can book your place through the Registration form, when completing your registration or directly through your Personal Area if your registration has already been submitted.