Current PhD Students and Projects


Thilini Keerthirathne

PhD Candidate

Project Title

Potential control mechanisms for Salmonella Typhimurium associated with eggs and raw egg products


Thilini Keerthirathne was born in Sri Lanka in 1988. She received the B.Sc. degree in Genetics from the University of Bangalore, India, in 2010 and the M.Sc. degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2012. She also completed her M.Phil degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Post Graduate Institute of Science, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.

In 2013 she joined the Molecular Microbiology and Human diseases research group, National Institute of Fundamental Studies, Kandy as a research assistant. She was working on a project titled “Rapid identification of nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) using a SYBR green mediated real-time multiplex PCR assay and determination of their drug susceptibility”.

In 2016 June she joined the Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia for her PhD. She is currently working on developing potential control mechanisms for Salmonella Typhimurium in eggs and raw egg products.

Her current research interests include food microbiology, food safety, and environmental health

Ph.D. project details:

Thesis title: Potential control mechanisms for Salmonella Typhimurium associated with eggs and raw egg products

Supervisors: Dr. Harriet Whiley, Dr. Kirtin Ross, and Professor Howard Fallowfield



Eggs are consumed by a huge portion of humans and consumer demand for microbiologically safe high quality food is increasing day by day. Egg yolk is an extremely nutritious excellent food supplement providing most of the essential amino acids, vitamin A, B3, B12, B2, E, Folate, and micronutrients including choline. Eggs are considered to be rich in fatty acids which influence the metabolism of the body. They are also considered to be an important ingredient in several food products because of their ability to produce and stabilize emulsions, frothing constancy and thermal gelation.

However, eggs have also been identified as one of the main sources of foodborne salmonellosis. In Australia, over the last decade, the number of salmonellosis cases has been significantly increasing. With raw egg products such as mayonnaise identified as the most common cause of outbreaks. My PhD research is investigating control measures to produce raw egg products that are free from Salmonella contamination. This includes investigating the efficiency of acidity (from lemon juice and vinegar) to control Salmonella in raw egg mayonnaise and the development of a sous-vide based onsite decontamination method. This will enable eggs to be decontaminated without affecting the pseudoplastic rheological behaviour of eggs and hence their usability.

The findings from my research will identify the best methods for producing raw egg products free from Salmonella contamination. Ultimately reducing the public health risk from salmonellosis



Contact Information

Email - keer0004@flinders.edu.au