Prevention and control of microbial loads during and after the vanilla curing process


Kibunje Mageme

Natural Extracts Industries, Ltd.

Moshi, Tanzania


Using DNA testing, several types of microorganisms were found to persist in vanilla during the curing process.  Results show that sanitizing green pods prior to blanching can lead to a significant reduction in microbial load, as a preventive measure.  After curing, certain microorganisms can be found to persist even in low-moisture settings (~10% moisture content), and a cost-effective control measure was trialed with positive results, which could be used by local curing agents and SME sellers of vanilla products.

Kibunje Mageme is the Quality Assurance and R&D Lead at Natural Extracts Industries Ltd where he oversees and leads day to day QA activities from raw materials reception to finished product, including product standards setting, production staff training and development of operational procedures and standards, quality manuals and HACCP plans.

Kibunje has worked with NEI Ltd since 2014, and as the company’s first food scientist, he has created a highly successful Quality Assurance department that has enabled the company to place products into the international market. He is a husband, father and traditional foods lover.

Kibunje is a holder of a BSc in Food Science and Technology, MSc candidate in Food Quality and Safety Assurance, and elected East Africa Quality Champion in Spices.