ALBERTA

Mould-Free Bread: University Of Alberta Researchers May Have Clue To Increase Shelf Life

04/02/2013 12:29 EDT | Updated 04/02/2013 12:38 EDT
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Is there anything worse than when you carefully craft a sandwich, stack it high on your favourite bread, only to bite into it and taste a fuzzy, green patch of mould?

Thanks to University of Alberta researchers, a mouth full of mouldy bread may soon be a thing of the past.

The scientists have discovered what makes sourdough bread typically resistant to mould and may be able to apply the science to other varieties of bread and other foods.

“Our research potentially provides a very useful tool to the food industry," Michael Gaenzle, a professor of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta, told Fast Company.

Sourdough bread has a longer shelf life because of an extra fermentation step not usually given to other types of bread. The fermentation of lactobacilli bacteria converts linoleic acid to hydroxy fatty acids -- which are great at resisting fungus.

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By collecting special sourdough bacteria, there's a chance to make bread that's not only mould-resistant, but also a product that tastes better.

"Preservatives can be eliminated from the recipes, and because sourdough bread has a more distinct and richer flavor compared to bread produced with yeast only," Gaenzle told webindia123.com.

The findings also have the potential to help protect crops, E! Science News reports.

According to Fast Company, the Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that grocery stores in the United States threw away 43 billion pounds of food in 2008, most of it being perishable, like bread.

Researchers south of the border are also trying to come up with a solution to bread gone bad. Texas company MicroZap claims to have created bread that has a shelf life of more than two months.

According to Business Insider, the bread is placed in a chamber and blasted with microwaves, which keep mould spores from forming for 60 days.

The company says their method also had the potential to kill salmonella without affecting quality, freshness or taste.