Innovation

GRAS Control of Spoilage in, and Contamination of, Juices and Other Commercial Beverages

University of Georgia Research Foundation
posted on 01/19/2011

Spoilage of beverages is responsible for a considerable portion of losses by the food and beverages industry. It is estimated that, in the US alone, contamination of beverages may account to up to 8% of industry losses. Additionally, a reasonable portion of food poisoning by food– and waterborne pathogens is associated with contamination and spoilage of beverages. It is estimated that, worldwide, such losses may amount to just under $1 billion annually.
Diverse microorganisms are associated with beverage contamination and spoilage. These include bacteria, yeasts, and fungi. The most common means to address such contamination are pasteurization and addition of organic acids (e.g., sorbic, citric, lactic and acetic) and their salts to beverages in order to control bacterial growth. However, such means are notably ineffective to control contamination by diverse pathogens (e.g., E. coli, B. cereus, B. anthrax) and many spoilage microorganisms such as Alicyclobacillus, aciduric bacteria and certain yeasts, many of which are thermophillic and also thrive even in considerably acidic environments. Other drawbacks include, for instance, the fact that sorbic acid may be degraded by certain fungi naturally present in fruits, which makes this additive inefficient as a preservative for fruit juices.
However, the ability of the industry to fully address this problem in a broad category of products is hindered by both regulatory issues and the compatibility of additives with certain beverages. Moreover, broad spectrum additives should not alter appearance and taste of beverages. Therefore, the development of a single solution that could potentially be used in connection with virtually any commercial beverage, be the subject of minimal regulatory hurdles and that is not likely to alter the quality of beverage products is highly desirable.

Suggested Uses

Additive to juices (including frozen), carbonated beverages, healthy drinks and bottled water.
As a co-adjuvant in the pasteurization of juices.
As an additive in the treatment of potable water such as in ships and for military use.

Advantages

Components are approved for use in the food industry (“GRAS” status)

Easy implementation, inexpensive, non-corrosive and safe to use

Outperforms treatment by hypochlorite, and lactic, citric, sorbic and acetic acids

Leads to large ( > 5 log CFU) elimination of water– and foodborne pathogens, as well as plant and spoilage pathogens

High efficacy achieved in less than 3 minutes after addition

Cooperative effect with other preservative/antimicrobial technologies

Broad spectrum activity

Can be used in conjunction with beverages with pH between 0 and 7 (not compatible with milk; on-going work)

Inexpensive components used in the 0.5% to 2% concentration.


Innovation Details
 

Detailed Description

UGA researchers working at the renowned Center for Food Safety have developed a two-component beverage additive that is capable to virtually eliminate microbial contamination of beverages. Microbial counts are reduced by factors between 106 and 109 after ca. 1 minute after addition. The components are approved for use in the food industry by the US FDA and EU regulatory agencies. Remarkable activity has been demonstrated against dozens of pathogens and spoilage agents, including (but not limited to) E. coli, Salmonella, B. anthrax, Yersinia, Listeria, Candida, Acidovorax, Saccharomicetes, Alicyclobacillaceae, and a plurality of others.
While use of this technology does not require the application of heat, the components are thermally stable, making the technology fully compatible with pasteurization systems.

Limitations

Not compatible with milk and milk-based beverages. This is part of on-going research interests.

File Number: 1592 

Disease: Infectious Diseases

Other Information:

UGARF is seeking a corporate partner willing to assess the technology in pilot scale, possibly partner with UGAS for additional research, and license this technology for implementation in a multinational territory.
PATENT PENDING


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License Online

This innovation currently is not available for online licensing. Please contact Gennaro Gama at University of Georgia Research Foundation for more information.

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