PepsiCo has been researching an alternative way to prevent fruit juice spoilage due to a bacterium called Alicyclobacillus acidoterrestris (ACB). In the US, ACB causes an estimated $32 million in damage each year to orange, mango, pear, grape and tomato juices.
The challenge -preventing spoilage- was presented to contestants in an international Food Solutions competition held by Europe’s EIT Food innovation project. First prize went to biotechnology and food engineering students from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
The Technion team used a bacteriophage – a virus that infects bacteria – to selectively destroy the pasteurization-resistant ACB. This process is a natural, inexpensive solution that does not involve genetic engineering. The bacteriophage has no harmful effects on human health and does not affect the kosher or halal status of juice products.
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