Engineering biofilms for healthier food production

Many bacteria in most natural settings tend to form multicellular communities known as biofilms.Bacterial cells are extraordinarily protected in the biofilm due to a self-produced extracellular polymeric matrix that consists mainly of sugars and proteins, which form a physical shelter against fluctuating environmental conditions. In addition, this polymeric matrix contributes to adhesion onto the associated surface and helps in the recruitment of nutrients as well as minerals for the entire biofilm community.

Remarkably, biofilm formation could be also viewed as a multicellular behavior, which is highly coordinated through intra- and intercellular network of signaling. We investigate the process of biofilm formation to understand signaling mechanisms that govern the type and robustness of biofilm formed by Bacillus species. We consider as negative as well as positive aspects of biofilm formation process towards implementing novel technologies to improve food quality and safety; besides, we develop novel approaches for generating functional probiotics and synbiotic foods.

Prof. Moshe Shemesh
Principal Research Scientist at ARO | Head, Food Microbiology Laboratory

Moshe Shemesh received his Ph.D. from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His postdoctoral studies Prof. Shemesh pursued at Harvard University on studying mechanisms that governing the formation of complex communities of bacterial cells. Starting from 2011 he is a head of food microbiology laboratory in the Department of Food Sciences at Agricultural Research Organization. His research interests are focused on investigating adaptation and survival mechanisms of spore forming bacteria in food and food-contact environments.

The research of Prof. Shemesh is also dedicated to developing novel means to improve microbial quality and safety of food, specifically dairy products. Lately, he has been involved in developing novel probiotic and symbiotic approaches to mitigate pathogenic microorganisms from food production chain. His major expertise are in

following fields: Food microbiology, microbial quality and safety of dairy products, probiotics, Gram-positive Bacilli species.