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Cell biologists at UvA's Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences have developed a method that allows for the comprehensive analysis of protein profiles from a bacterial spore to vegetative growing cells. The results offer starting points for a targeted defense against the formation of contaminants and pathogens in food products.


This so-called 'one-pot' method for proteome-wide analysis was largely invented by Dr Leo de Koning and developed further by PhD candidate Bhagyashree Swarge. Their results were recently published in the scientific journals Proteomics - Clinical Applications and Food Microbiology.

Food contaminants

Spore-forming bacteria are abundant in soil used for crops, and are therefore common food pathogens and contaminants. The new method of analysis allows the researchers to unravel the germination and growth strategy of spores in great detail, in order to find starting points for a targeted defense against this germination and growth.

Sporulation and germination of contaminants in milk products. Click the image to enlarge. Image: Bhagyashree N. Swarge

A targeted defence against undesired germination and spore growths in our food chain will allow for less intensive food processing, while maintaining the microbial stability of the food products. This contributes to the quality of food and the sustainability of food production. Together, these are crucial parameters that determine the value of the food chain.


The research was conducted as part of a long-standing collaboration between two research groups: Molecular Biology and Microbial Food Safety, chaired by prof. Stanley Brul and Mass Spectrometry of Biomacromolecules, chaired by prof. Chris de Koster.

Publication details

Bhagyashree N. Swarge, Winfried Roseboom, Linli Zheng, Wishwas R. Abhyankar, Stanley Brul, Chris G. de Koster and Leo J. de Koning. ‘One‐pot’ Sample Processing Method for Proteome‐wide Analysis of Microbial Cells and Spores, Proteomics - Clinical Applications, published online 27 February. DOI: 10.1002/prca.201700169

W.R. Abhyankarac, J.Wen, B.N. Swarge, Z.Tu, R. de Boer, J.P.P.M.Smelt, Koning, E.Manders, Koster, S.Brul. Proteomics and microscopy tools for the study of antimicrobial resistance and germination mechanisms of bacterial spores, Food Microbiology, published online 14 March 2018. DOI: 10.1016/