LABIP has organized a number of expert workshops related to topics that are important for the research and application of Lactic Acid Bacteria.

LABIP Expert Workshop: Microbial Diversity & Health

It is estimated by FAO/WHO that up to 1/3 of all the food products consumed by humans have undergone a fermentation process. Although traditionally fermented foods still have an increasing positive image with consumers, industrialized and pasteurized/sterilized convenience foods have during the recent decades gained a greater foothold within the human diet. Consequently the average consumer today is less exposed to microbes from the food products they consume. The Expert Workshop will address  different issues of fermenting microbes, such as Lactic Acid Bacteria, in foods and their impact on the general health and wellbeing of humans.

The program of this expert workshop will address the following aspects:

  • The consumer perspective on fermented food products
  • Can beneficial microbes play a role in promoting diversity related to the hygiene hypothesis?
  • How to influence microbial diversity in today’s Western diet?
  • Can food microbes play a key role in the diversity of the human microbiome?

The aim of this LABIP Expert Workshop, is therefore to discuss the opportunities and challenges that are involved in achieving a natural diversity of beneficial microbes in today’s food production and their influence on the health and well-being of humans. The Workshop will bring together about 10 experts that will present on the topics mentioned above. The outcome of the Expert Workshop will be published as a LABIP position paper outlining the opportunities and challenges for the EU industry using Lactic Acid Bacteria  to promote microbial diversity and health.

Book of abstracts

Position paper

LABIP Expert Workshop: biopreservation through fermentation, a natural and sustainable process? Opportunities, Risks and Regulation

After postponing it three times due to the Corona pandemic finally September 27 and 28 2021 this LABIP Expert Workshop was held in Bruges, Belgium. 9 speaker experts and 22 LABIP members attended the Workshop. The final goal was to publish a consensus position paper that on the one hand puts the benefits of fermentation in the spotlight but at the same time is realistic with respect to the risks and limits of fermentation and the current regulation. Svend Laulund from Chr. Hansen will take the lead in writing this paper.

The increased global consumer trend towards a more sustainable food production, waste reduction and less processed foods has revived the application of food produced through fermentation, including both industrial as well as artisanal produced foods. Fermentation was used already 9000 years ago to make beer, wine and preserve foods. The  process has evolved and was industrialised, leading to safe and controlled fermentations. Other preservation methods, based e.g. on chemicals or by temperature control have competed with fermentation over the last decades. It is estimated that up 1/3 of all foods for human consumption is wasted before it is consumed. With more than 30 % of all foods for human consumption being produced using fermentation, this traditional method plays an important role in reducing food waste.

To understand and pave the way for a revival of the application of fermentation to come up with a natural and biological safe ways to reduce food waste and secure a more sustainable food production, the LABIP SG has decided to organize an expert workshop to elucidate pros and cons of fermentation as a natural tool for bio-preservation of foods.  A link to the hand-out, comprising the program and the names of all participants, as well as a link to the abstracts and the full publication of the position paper can be find hereunder.

Key references:



LABIP Position Paper Preservation Through Fermentation. a Natural and Sustanable process IJoMB 2022 7 159-162

LABIP Expert Workshop: major changes in the taxonomy of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus; consequences for industry

In June this year, Salvettia and coworkers (*) published the result of a whole genome sequence analysis of 269 species, primarily belonging to the 25 families of the  Lactobacillaceae and the Leuconostocaceae. Not surprisingly, the results showed a tree in which phylogeny and taxonomy were in serious disagreement. In order to solve this confusing situation, a considerable renaming at genus level might be necessary. The current genus Lactobacillus (containing over 200 species) is therefore in risk of being renamed and split into at least 10 new genera.

While very defendable from a scientific point of view, practical implications are far reaching, given the fact that many lactobacilli are involved in food fermentations and therefore have a legal status in relation to their use, functionality and safety (labelling, ingredient status, QPS status, GRAS notification, etc…). Name changes could also have consequences for the medical community, as new names may only slowly penetrate into medical laboratories.

In order to make an inventory of the possible consequences and discuss the different options to deal with this extensive renaming, LABIP has composed an impressive international  panel of experts, representing Academia and Industry. October 4 and 5 these stakeholders have discussed the pros, cons and possible consequences and make some recommendations for a smooth ‘taxonomic transition’. The workshop was attended by 35 participants, 14 experts and 21 LABIP representatives.

While taxonomic renaming’s have been quite frequent in the past, the scale at which this is going to happen for microorganisms with such a great importance in food and health, is unprecedented.

Key references: a link to the hand-out, comprising the program, the abstracts and the names of all participants will be find hereunder.

Mary-Ellen Sanders from ISAPP, one of the participants, has published a blog which can be followed through the following link: Forthcoming Changes in Lactobacillus Taxonomy

The official result of the workshop will be made available on our website as a formal publication. The full presentations will be available at our Intranet.

* Elisa Salvetti, Hugh M. B. Harris, Giovanna E. Felis, Paul W. O’Toole. 2018. Comparative genomics reveals robust phylogroups in the genus Lactobacillus as the basis for reclassification. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. doi:10.1128/AEM.00993-18

LABIP Taxonomy Workshop handout 2

LABIP Expert Workshop: future access and improvement of industrial LAB cultures

May 10 and 11 2017 an expert workshop has been organised aiming at the implementation of new natural and genetic selection methods for industrial starter cultures and the influence of legislation which is being implemented as a consequence of the Nagoya Protocol. This protocol from 2014 is now ratified by almost 100 countries, including the EU and establishes the compliance to Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) rules of the countries. These rules have been implemented after the Convention of Biological Diversity of 1993.

In the workshop, the potential of the new genetic approaches for LAB was depicted, including examples of what has been achieved during the latest years. On the other hand it was made clear that the legislation, following the Nagoya protocol and which is still under debate, will have an enormous influence on academic and industrial research.

The outcome of the workshop will be in the form of a position paper, which will be written in the coming months and published. The Hand-out, containing program of the workshop, the list of participants and the abstracts of the presentations, as well as the complete presentations of all expert speakers can be found in the Members Only section of the website.The position paper has now been published in the

Key reference: open Access Journal “Microbial Cell Factories” on December 14 2018. It can be accessed by the following link:

Workshop on “The Application of GMO LAB in Food Products in Europe”

During the last years, research on LAB and LAB fermented foods have been supported by the EU. Processes involving LAB have been investigated using biotechnological techniques, including genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Many of the potential benefits can only be realized if GMOs are acceptable for the consumer. Therefore LABIP has hosted in November 1998 an expert workshop to elucidate how products, made with GM-LAB can be introduced in Europe, taking into account the concerns of the consumer. The workshop was funded by the EU and a full consensus report has been published and widely disseminated.

Key reference: Wymer, P. (1999) ISBN 90-76110-07-7  Report LABIP Workshop Application GMO LAB

Workshop on “Probiotics”

There is a growing interest in LAB that give specific health benefits when consumed as food supplement of component. However, opinions differ with respect to the requirements needed to substantiate a claim on a beneficial effect of a given bacterial strain. Also there is no consensus on how to define a viable strain as a probiotic. Therefore LABIP has hosted an expert workshop, sponsored by the EU, to address these topics. The workshop has been held in November 1995 and a full consensus report has been written and disseminated and a summary of the report has been published.

Key reference: Guarner, F. and Schaafsma, G.J., International Journal of Food Microbiology 39(1998)237-238 Publication workshop on probiotics 1996

Workshop on “Safety of lactic acid bacteria”

As a result of some reports in the litterature on the possible involvement of LAB in clinical infections, a EU-sponsored workshop was organized by LABIP in November 1994 to discuss and comment on the significance of these observations and wether ingested LAB could form a risk factor for clinical infection.
The key objectives of the workshop were:

  • To bring leading EU food and medical microbiologists and gastro-enterologists together to discuss the safety of LAB, with regard to the recent publications on this topic.
  • To come to a clearly written consensus document on the safety of LAB.

A full consensus workshop report was written and the major conclusions were published.

Key reference: Adams M.R. and Marteau P., International Journal of Food Microbiology 27(1995)263-264 Publication workshop safety LAB 1994