Yufeng Zhang

Doctor of Philosophy, (Food Microbiology)
Study Completed: 2019
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
The signal-based microbial spoilage on New Zealand export lamb

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This study was the first investigation into cell-to-cell interaction, also known as quorum sensing (QS) signals, and their effect on spoilage in lamb. Due to the lack of previous research into the role of quorum sensing signals in the decomposition process of meat, this study investigates QS signals in lamb and their effect on meat spoilage. Mr Zhang used both chemical and biological analytic methods, gene knock-down methods, such as random transposon mutagenesis, and gene expression analyses to identify the presence of QS signalling molecules and used them to predict lamb spoilage. QS signalling molecules produced by spoilage bacteria were found to regulate extracellular enzymes that contribute to the spoilage of lamb. Treatment with candidate phytochemical QS inhibitors was found to reduce QS signal production, signal reception, extracellular enzyme activity and resulted in delaying the spoilage process. Mr Zhang’s research has provided a method of using phytochemicals for lamb preservation by inhibiting QS signalling.

Professor Steve Flint
Dr Tanushree Gupta
Dr Anne Midwinter
Mr John Mills