University of California, Davis

To examine the seasonal nature of the built environment microbiota in wine- and cheese-making facilities

  • Amount $307,443
  • City Davis, CA
  • Investigator David Mills
  • Year 2014
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Microbiology of the Built Environment

Funds from this grant support efforts by David A. Mills, Peter J. Shields Endowed Chair in the Department of Food Science, to examine the seasonal nature of the built environment microbiota in two types of food and beverage fermentation settings: dairies and wineries. The study aims to determine what microbial communities reside in these facilities during normal operation during all four seasons of the year; examine how these microbial communities migrate throughout the facilities; and make a series of building science measurements to evaluate how the built environment impacts these microbial communities. In the wine study, Mills and his team will examine how regional microbiota on Chardonnay grapes from four different regions--Napa, Sonoma, Central Coast, and Northern San Joaquin Valley--influences winery-associated microbiota and how room traffic, occupancy, air flows, and room surfaces affect microbial composition. In the dairy study, the team will examine how three different types of milk--goat, cheese, and cow--drive the dairy-associated microbiota at three artisanal cheese-making facilities. In both studies, the team will examine seasonal changes to indoor microbiota and their correlations with environmental parameters. The project will train at least one postdoctoral fellow and two undergraduates.  Findings will be shared with the scientific community through peer-reviewed publications and talks at scientific meetings and disseminated to the wine and dairy industry through trade publications.

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