ComBase is a database that contains information about how microorganisms respond to different environments. The information in ComBase is referred to as “quantitative microbiological” data since it describes how levels of microorganisms, both spoilage organisms and pathogens, change over the course of time. This type of information can also be referred to as “kinetic data.”
ComBase is a production of the United Kingdom Institute of Food Research (IFR), the United States Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and the Australian Food Safety Centre of Excellence (AFSCoE). These partners recognized that food microbiologists, food safety managers and risk assessors needed to able to more quickly locate specific microbiological data among the vast quantities that exist in the published literature, within organizations and in individual research laboratories.
Much effort has been, and continues to be, made to collect, organize and add to the information in ComBase. The primary goal of ComBase is to improve efficiency in locating specific microbiological information, provide a more rapid means to compare data from different laboratories, and to reduce unnecessary redundancy in conducting microbiological studies.
Using an Internet interface, ComBase the user identifies criteria that are relevant to a specific food microbiology scenario. This may include identifying a specific microorganism, type of food, level of acidity, temperature, water activity (or NaCl concentration), and the presence of specific food conditions, such as additives, preparation methods and packaging atmospheres.
After searching the database for the desired information, the results are presented in both Summary and Detailed formats. In the Summary format, one can quickly sort and identify the most desirable records and then view them individually using the Detailed format. Each record or groups of records (500 or less) can then be downloaded for further analysis using spreadsheet programs.
Within each record Detail, different types of information are provided. This includes the record identifier (ID), organism, food type, temperature, pH, water activity (or NaCl level), conditions of the food, and the growth or inactivation rate. The data are presented in graph form and table formats.
For further information, use the Help features located throughout ComBase.
Visit the main ComBase site, or jump directly to the Data Browser.