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. © Inra, Aline Waquet

Units of Hauts-de-France Research Centre

Unit of Materials and Transformations - Interface Processes and Hygiene of Materials (PIHM)

Located in Villeneuve d'Ascq, the team studies the dynamics of microbial, physical and chemical processes at solid interfaces in the food industries. On January 1, 2015, the PIHM team joined the Materials and Processing Unit (UMET) CNRS / Lille1 University.

Updated on 07/11/2018
Published on 08/24/2015

The research carried out at PIHM aims to improve food safety in processing lines by understanding and controlling the dynamics of microbial, chemical and physical processes at solid interfaces. To achieve this objective, the team's activities are organized around two main research activities.

Properties of the fouling components

In order to understand the interfacial phenomena that govern surface contamination in the food industries, our work focuses on fouling components (food vs bacteria [spores and biofilms]), essentially on their properties that can affect adhesion, complex soiling development, and their further elimination (structure, physicochemistry, heterogeneity, etc.).

Relevant to the targeted agro-industrial applications, we investigate in parallel the consequences of the environmental conditions encountered in the different sectors (technological itinerary) on the dynamics of these structures.

Properties of materials and dynamics of phenomena at interfaces

The surface properties of materials (topography, physico-chemistry) play a decisive role in the processes at the interfaces. At PIHM, academic research is conducted using "tailor-made" materials (functionalized, nanostructured, etc.) in order to understand the mechanisms at the interfaces. In parallel, researches on materials for industrial use are carried out in order to observe phenomena under relevant environmental conditions with agro-industrial applications (surface hygiene, eco-design of food processing).

In order to understand the dynamics of phenomena at interfaces, the strategy implemented at PIHM is based on:

  • Characterization of soils: molecular structure (food proteins, bacterial glycoproteins and carbohydrates [spore surface, biofilm matrix]), 3D structure, mechanical properties, heterogeneity, etc...
  • Modelling of the kinetics of formation/removal of these soils

Original observation devices have been designed to investigate phenomena at different scales, from microscopic scale (flow cells under microscope, micro-fluidic) to the pilot scale

Batiment de l'Unité

Find out more

UMET director:

Patrice WOISEL, Lille 1 University

PIHM leader:

Guillaume DELAPLACE, Inra

Team PIHM contact information:

369 rue Jules Guesde

59650 Villeneuve d’Ascq cedex

Tel : +33 (0)3 20 43 54 24

Mail : pihm-hauts-de-france@inra.fr

UMET web

INRA research divisions:

- Science for Food and Bioproduct Engineering (CEPIA)

- Microbiology and the food chain (MICA)