Department of Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

Head of Department: RNDr. Tomáš Kuchta, DrSc.
tel: +421 2 502 37 067
Deputy Head of Department: Ing. Jana Minarovičová, PhD.
tel: +421 2 502 37 056
Members of the Department: Mgr. Adriana Véghová, PhD., Ing. Barbara Brežná, PhD., Ing. Eva Kaclíková, CSc., Ing. (ML) Eva Schwarczová , Ing. Janka Koreňová, PhD., Ing. Janka Lopašovská, Ing. Katarína Ženišová, PhD., RNDr. Ľubica Piknová, PhD., Mgr. Zuzana Čaplová, PhD. (ML), Mgr. Zuzana Rešková, PhD,
Katarína Stolařová

Research scope

Current research projects

Selected scientific publications

Microbiology and Molecular Biology and Biotechnology:

Research scope:

Study and development of rapid methods for identification of pathogenic bacteria in food based on polymerase chain reaction (Salmonella enterica, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus sp., Enterobacter sakazakii, Yersinia enterocolitica and others)

Stufy of the microflora of traditional Slovakian food products (Slovakian bryndza cheese, wine)

Study and development of PCR-based methods for identification of allergens in food (walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashew nuts, pistachio nuts, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, celery and others) and components of plant origin active in food intolerance (gluten-containing cereals)

Current research projects:

APVV-16-0264 „Improvement of organoleptic quality of wine by application of non- Saccharomyces co-starters optimized on the basis of microflora profiling using NGS and aroma profiling.“

The importance of the contribution of autochthonous non-Saccharomyces strains to the final organoleptic characteristics of wine is already well established. During fermentation, these strains, together with Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains, can enrich the wine bouquet by different types of flavor compounds. It is evident that enzymatic characteristics of S. cerevisiae and non-Saccharomyces yeasts are of crucial importance in order to design and improve the wine unique properties. To understand the enzymatic potential of the microbial community in wine fermentation, it is necessary to perform investigation on RNA level, which may provide important information regarding the live microflora and its abilities in wine-related samples. Modern molecular methods based on next generation sequencing (NGS; also known as high-throughput sequencing) facilitate transcriptomic analysis, which provides a dynamic and functional view of microbial activity under particular conditions by gaining data on RNA and the expression profile. These new molecular approaches consent the analysis of the whole or targeted mRNA extracted from various wine-related samples. In this way, information on the gene expression of different microorganisms during the wine fermentation process can be obtained and, consequently, the function of such microorganisms regarding glycolytic, proteolytic, esterolytic and pectinase activities can be described.

APVV-16-0119 „Direct culture-independent quantitative detection of bacterial pathogens in traditional Slovak and imported food products of animal origin.“

Foodborne pathogens pose serious public health risks causing diseases that constitute a major burden to consumers, food business operators and national governments. Microbiological analysis is an integral part of food safety control and monitoring systems. Rapid, accurate technologies to detect or quantify low numbers are in demand in order to ideal assess product safety in hours. The proposed project will be focused on culture-independent quantitative analysis of pathogenic bacteria (Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli) in food. Culture-independent approach will be studied, involving separation of bacterial cells, optimized DNA extraction and nucleic acid amplification, facilitating bacterial quantification in a couple of hours. Broad-range identification of standard monitored usual as well as unusual bacterial species by high-throughput sequencing (next-gen) will be oriented to application of specific primers, improvement of detection limits, and also to internal standard development and implementation. The aim of the comprehensive research will be a validated procedure of direct quantification of food-borne pathogens in food with required limits of detection, allowing to obtain reliable results in one working day.

APVV- 14-0025 „Metatranscriptome of ewes' lump cheese: An RNA-based approach to determine the contribution of microorganisms to organoleptic quality of bryndza cheese.“

Bryndza cheese is an important Slovakian traditional food product. In order to improve its position on the national as well as international markets, essential requirements for microbiological safety should be treated without affecting the traditional organoleptic quality. It is generally accepted that bryndza cheese produced from pasteurized milk is organoleptically inferior to the traditional version of the product, produced from raw ewes‘ milk. Technical solution of the quality and safety problems is impossible without gaining of new knowledge on the role of microorganisms in the ripening process of this type of cheese. This project will continue the research in the field that was started by the previous project BryndzaPro, in which microflora and volatile aromaactive compounds of the ewes’ curd were characterized by modern methods (ewes’ curd is an intermediate product in bryndza cheese production and is known to be responsible for its organoleptic quality). The aim of this project is to define the responsibility of microorganisms or groups of microorganisms (in particular Lactococcus spp./Streptococcus spp., Lactobacillus spp. and Geotrichum spp.) for bryndza organoleptic properties.

APVV- 15-0006 „Improvement of safety and quality of traditional Slovakian cheeses on the basis of application of modern analytical, mathematicalmodelling and molecular-biological methods, and identification of the innovation potential.“

Bryndza, oštiepok, parenica and other steamed or smoked cheeses belong to traditional Slovakian food products with a great market potential in Slovakia and in neighbouring countries of Central Europe. Due to the discussed issues of microbiological safety, their production hygiene and technology was improved after the entry of the Slovak Republic to the European Union. This led to improvement of their safety, in most cases, but in some cases largely at the expense of sensory quality. The aim of the project will be an objective, scientific characterization of the traditional versions of Slovakian cheeses, which will regard aroma-active compounds, microbiological safety, and microbial diversity. Such research has not been done yet, with the exception of bryndza cheese. Relevant scientific knowledge on other traditional cheeses has not been updated yet.

APVV-SK-PL- 2015-0002 "Characterization of microbial consortia in traditional fermented foods by molecular methods"

The project was oriented to characterization of microbial consortia in traditional fermented food products of Slovakian and Polish origins (cheese, wine, fermented vegetables), making use of the recent developments in molecular-biological methods. Exchange and complementation of methods between the partner laboratories will facilitate development and application of a combined approach, which will produce new knowledge in the field. The outcomes of the project involve scientific articles and a basis for a longer-lasting scientific cooperation created.

  • 08W301 "Development of progressive methods and procedures to support quality and safety of food production and control“
  • 08W301 „Authentication products and characterization of cross-contamination of plant allergens“
  • 26240120024 „Centre of Excellence for contaminants and microorganisms in food“
  • FP7-KBBE-2010-4/265877 "Protection of consumers by microbial risk mitigation through combating segregation of expertise" (PROMISE)
  • SEC-2012.1.5-4/ 312631 "Securing the spices and herbs commodity chains in Europe againstdeliberate, accidental or natural biological and chemical contamination" (SPICED)
  • APVV 0590-10 „Broadening of scientific knowledge on quality and safety of Slovakian bryndza cheese using modern molecular, microbiological and chromatographic methods“ (BrandzaPro)
  • APVV 0098-10 „New bacteriophages and phage proteins for pathogen devitalization in foods prepared by synthetic biology approach“.
  • APVV-0344-12  „ Characterization of bacterial communities of Slovakian wine by molecular-biological methods“.
  • APVV-0498-12  „Study of genome variability of Listeria monocytogenes focused on the strains able to persist in food processing plants"

Selected scientific publications:

Minarovičová, J. - Véghová, A. - Mikulášová, M. - Chovanová, R. - Šoltýs, K. - Drahovská, H. - Kaclíková, E.: Benzalkonium chloride tolerance of Listeria monocytogenes strains isolated from a meat processing facility is related to presence of plasmid-borne bcrABC cassette. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek, Journal of Microbiology, Vol. 111, 2018, pp. 1-11

Čaplová, Z. - Pangallo, D. - Kraková, L. - Puškárová, A. - Drahovská, H. - Bučková, M., Koreňová, J. - Kuchta, T. Detection of genes prtP, pepN, pepX and bcaT involved in formation of aroma-active compounds in lactic acid bacteria from ewes’ cheese. International Journal of Food Microbiology, Vol. 2, 2018, pp. 195-200

Minarovičová, J. – Cabicarová, T. – Kaclíková, E. – Mader, A. – Lopašovská, J. – Siekel, P. – Kuchta, T.: Culture-independent quantification of pathogenic bacteria in spices and herbs using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Food Control, Vol. 83, 2018, pp. 85-89

Bučková, M., Puškárová, A., Ženišová, K., Kraková, L., Piknová, Ľ., Kuchta, T., Pangallo, D. Novel insights into microbial community dynamics during the fermentation of Central European ice wine. International Journal of Food Microbiology, Vol. 266, 2018, pp. 42–51

Planý, M. – Šoltýs, K. – Budiš, J. – Mader, A. – Szemes, T. – Siekel, P. – Kuchta, T. Potential of high-throughput sequencing for broad-range detection of pathogenic bacteria in spices and herbs, Food Control, Vol. 83, 2018, pp. 118-122

Véghová, A. – Minarovičová, J. – Koreňová, J. – Drahovská, H. – Kaclíková, E. Prevalence and tracing of persistent Listeria monocytogenes strains in meat processing facility production chain. Journal of Food Safety, Vol. 37, No. 2, 2017

Kaclíková, E. – Siekel, P. – Minarovičová, J. – Piknová, Ľ. – Kuchta, T.: Kit of reagents for detection of pathogenic bacteria in food. Utility design 7841. Bratislava : Industrial property office of the Slovak, 2017.

Kaclíková, E. – Siekel, P. – Minarovičová, J. – Piknová, Ľ. – Kuchta, T.: Kit of reagents for detection of allergens in food. Utility design 7847. Bratislava : Industrial property office of the Slovak republik, 2017.

Skotniczny, M. – Ženišová, K. – Satora, P. – Kuchta, T.: Simplified identification of microbial species in must and wine using modern methods – An example of yeasts from Malopolska wine-producing region. In Vinič a víno, Vol.  17, 2017, pp. 89-91.

Ženišová, K. – Bučková, M. – Puškárová, A. – Kraková, L. – Piknová, Ľ. – Pangallo, D. Culturable microorganisms during fermentation of Veltlínske zelené (Grüner Veltliner) ice wine. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, Vol. 56, No. 1, 2017, pp. 96-100

Piknová, Ľ. – Panqallo, D. – Ženišová, K. – Bučková, M. – Puškárová, A.: Microbiological diversity in the process of production of ice wine of Veltlínske zelené variety . In Vinič a víno, Vol. 17, No. 4, 2017, pp. 120–121.

Brežná, B. - Piknová, Ľ.: Sample preparation for real-time PCR in food science. In: Rodríguez-Lázaro, D. (Ed.): Real-time PCR in food science. Norfolk : Caister Academic Press, 2013, s. 255-274. ISBN 978-1-908230-15-7.

Godálová, Z. - Bergerová, E. – Siekel, P.: Effect of high temperature and pressure on quantification of MON 810 maize. Czech Journal of Food Sciences, 31, 2013, s. 376-381.

Oriešková, M.- Gajdošová, K.- Oslanecová, L.- Ondreíčková, K.- Kaclíková, E.- Stuchlík, S.- Turňa, J.- Drahovská, H.: Function of thermotolerance genomic Island in increased stress resistance of Cronobacter sakazakii. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, 52, 2013, pp. 37-44.

Janská, V. – Piknová, Ľ. – Kuchta, T.: Semi-quantitative estimation of the walnut content in fillings of bakery products using real-time polymerase chain reaction with internal standard material. European Food Research and Technology, 235, 2012, pp. 1033-1038.

Kraková, L. - Chovanová, K. - Ženišová, K. - Turcovská, V. - Brežná, B. - Kuchta, T. - Pangallo, D.: Yeast diversity investigation of wine-related samples from two different Slovakian wine-producing areas through a multistep procedure. LWT – Food Science and Technology, 46, 2012, pp. 406-411.

Costa, J. – Mafra, I. – Kuchta, T. – Oliveira, M. B. P. P.: Single-tube nested real-time PCR as a new highly sensitive approach to trace hazelnut. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 60, 2012, pp. 8103-8110.

Soler, M - Ruiz-Rueda, O. - Lopez-Siles, M. - Calvó, L. - Kaclíková, E. - Garcia-Gil, J.L.: A validated simple and rapid method for the simultaneous detection of both Cronobacter spp. and Salmonella spp. for infant formula quality control. Dairy Science and Technology, 92 (2), 2012, pp. 151-166.

Soler, M - Ruiz-Rueda, O. - Lopez-Siles, M. - Calvó, L. - Kaclíková, E. - Garcia-Gil, J.L.: A New Validated Real-Time PCR-Based Method for the Specific and Fast Detection of Cronobacter spp. in Infant Formula. Food Analytical Methods, 5, (2), 2012, pp. 179-187.

Chovanová, K. - Kraková, L. - Ženišová, K. - Turcovská, V. - Brežná, B. - Kuchta, T. - Pangallo, D.: Selection and identification of autochthonous yeasts in Slovakian wine samples using a rapid and reliable three-step approach. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 53, 2011, pp. 231-237.

Bergerová, E. - Brežná, B. - Kuchta, T.: A novel method with improved sensitivity for the detection of peanuts based upon single-tube nested real-time polymerase chain reaction. European Food Research and Technology, 232, 2011, pp. 1087-1091.

Janská, V. - Piknová, Ľ. - Kuchta, T.: Relative quantification of walnuts and hazelnuts in bakery products using real-time polymerase chain reaction. European Food Research and Technology, 232, 2011, pp. 1057-1060.

Minarovičová, J. – Lopašovská, J.  – Valík, Ľ. - Kuchta, T.: A Method for the Detection of Cryptosporidium parvum Oocysts in Milk Based on Microfiltration and Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction. Food Analytical Methods, 2011, 4, pp. 116-120.

Koreňová, J. – Urdová, K. – Oravcová, K.: Efficacy of some commercial sanitizers for devitalization and removal of bacterial biofilms. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, 50, 2011, pp. 13-20.

Chebeňová, V. - Berta, G. - Kuchta, T. - Brežná, B. - Pangallo, D.: Randomly-amplified microsatellite polymorphism for preliminary typing of lactic acid bacteria from bryndza cheese. Folia Microbiologica, 55, 2010, pp. 598-602.

Trnčíková, T. - Piskernik, S. - Kaclíková, E. - Smole Možina , S. - Kuchta, T. - Jeršek, B.: Characterization of Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from food produced in Slovakia and Slovenia with regard to the presence of genes encoding for enterotoxins. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, 49, 2010, pp. 215-220.

Brežná, B. - Ženišová, K. - Chovanová, K. - Chebeňová, V. - Kraková, L. - Kuchta, T. - Pangallo, D.: Evaluation of fungal and yeast diversity in Slovakian wine-related microbial communities. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, 98, 2010, pp. 519-529.

Bergerová, E. – Hrnčírová, Z. – Stankovská, M. – Lopašovská, M. – Siekel, P.: Effect of thermal treatment on the amplification and quantification of transgenic and nontransgenic soybean and maize DNA. Food Analytical Methods, 3, 2010, pp. 211–218.

Jesenák, K. - Šalamunová, Ľ. - Kuchta, T.: Eradication of Listeria from water suspensions using octadecylammonium derivatives of montmorillonite. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, 49, 2010, pp. 85-88.

Brežná, B. - Dudášová, H. - Kuchta, T.: A novel real-time polymerase chain reaction method for the detection of Brazil nuts in food. Journal of AOAC International, 93, 2010, pp. 197-201.

Minarovičová, J. - Kaclíková, E. - Krascsenicsová, K. - Siekel, P. - Kuchta, T.: A single-tube nested real-time polymerase chain reaction for sensitive contained detection of Cryptosporidium parvum. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 49, 2009, pp. 568-572.

Koreňová, J. - Lopašovská, J. - Kuchta, T.: Biofilm forming bacterial contaminants in small and medium-sized ewes' milk and meat processing enterprises in Slovakia. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, 48, 2009, pp. 115-120.

Brežná, B. - Piknová, Ľ. - Kuchta, T.: A novel real-time polymerase chain reaction method for the detection of macadamia nuts in food. European Food Research and Technology, 229, 2009, pp. 397-401.

Berta, G. - Chebeňová, V. - Brežná, B. - Pangallo, D. - Valík, Ľ. - Kuchta, T.: Identification of lactic acid bacteria in Slovakian bryndza cheese. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, 48, 2009, pp. 65-71.