Priscilla Sanches

PhD student

Priscilla Sanches PhD studentPriscilla is a PhD candidate in the field of food microbiology related to food spoilage and foodborne pathogens. She works on an interdisciplinary project that aims to increase the food safety status of food companies significantly by focusing on validating processes. These processes will guarantee that the actual production process and the production equipment used in the food industry reduce food safety risks sufficiently and that thus safe and high-quality food is produced. Therefore, attention is given to validate certain steps in the food production process towards effectively eliminating vegetative pathogens such as Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli (EHEC). The steps of interest can be classic pasteurization, hot-filling or post-pasteurization to destroy the surface contamination. Other interesting steps are steps that were not originally intended to affect the inactivation of pathogens, for example, blanching, baking and drying. Instead of actual pathogens of interest, surrogate strains exhibiting similar kinetics will be used for validation on lab, pilot and industrial scale

The goal of this project is to create validation protocols and tools for theoretical validation of the production equipment against the realized inactivation treatments during the production of a particular food product. The Belgian and European food industry is not yet prepared for this transformation, which makes this research topic a necessity.

Priscilla started her basic academic education with a BSc in Agricultural Production at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname from 2013-2017. During this time, she was introduced to the concepts of food science, technology and nutrition. She was intrigued by laboratory research, in particular detecting and characterizing spoilage organisms and foodborne pathogens in different food matrices. From 2017-2018 she got the opportunity to apply her acquired academic knowledge by working as a Food Safety assistant of a meat processing and production company in Suriname. From 2018-2020 she continued her academic studies and achieved an MSc degree in Food Technology from the InterUniversity Program in Food Technology (IUPFOOD) at KULeuven and Ghent University. In 2021, she re-joined Ghent University as a PhD student at the Department of Food Technology, Safety and Health.