Bread developments – the bread that could last for 60 days

  • (C) Benediktv @ www.flickr.com

    (C) Benediktv @ http://www.flickr.com

    A technique has been developed that may make bread last up to 60 days, through a process that zaps the spores that cause mould. It is estimated that 32% of bread loaves purchased in the UK are thrown out as waste, with the main cause being mould.

  • In normal conditions this takes approximately 10 days, however US company Microzap uses a microwave device, originally designed to kill bacteria such as Salmonella and MRSA, to inactivate mould spores in bread in around 10 seconds.
  • The machine uses similar technology to commercial microwaves, but with homogeneous signal density, that is, without hot and cold spots.
  • In another study, scientists in Slovakia have designed a functional wheat-rye bread to investigate health impacts. The study suggests that wheat-rye bread fortified with cereal dietary fibre, beta-glucan hydrogel and sourdough starter culture, could reduce glucose levels after consumption in healthy males and therefore be used in diabetes and obesity programs.
  • The bread possesses higher acidity levels, caused by lactobacilli strains from the sourdough during the fermentation process. The study suggested that these organic acids may reduce acute glycemic and insulinemic responses.

Implications and next steps: Both developments are potentially significant, the first in terms of reducing a source of food waste, and additionally reducing preservatives currently added to try to prevent mould and the chemicals required to mask their taste. The second shows the potential for a staple food source to be used in obesity and diabetes prevention programmes, and researchers highlight the importance of running further studies to test higher amounts of functional additives with a larger more diverse study group.

Chemical Papers: http://tinyurl.com/c5cd6bo, BBC: http://tinyurl.com/cehtxba

About Julia Chatterton

Systems modeller with a particular expertise in food, farming and agricultural systems. Working with life cycle assessment methods for over 4 years to assess and analyse the environmental burdens associated with food and other production systems.
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