Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Jerusalem Student Invents Bacteria-Free Food Packaging

Graduate student from Hebrew University has discovered a way to attack potentially harmful bacteria

By: NoCamels Team

Published: June 23rd, 2014 in Health » Israel

Jerusalem Student Invents Bacteria-Free Food Packaging

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but not if your apple is covered in bacterial biofilm, a potentially chronic illness-causing bacteria that sticks to produce and packaging in the shipping process.

Now a graduate student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has discovered a way to attack the potentially harmful bacteria that sticks to food packaging, a discovery with immense commercial potential.

Meet biofilm – your produces’ worst nightmare

Bacterial biofilms are an ever-increasing problem in the food industry, especially for fresh produce. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that food-borne diseases cause an estimated 48 million illnesses each year in the United States alone, 45 percent of which are caused by bacteria.

The issue of biofilm build-up is increasingly significant as industrialized countries see an increased demand for fresh produce and raise awareness of the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. But public health concerns about fresh produce are especially acute because many of these products are consumed raw. Countless microorganisms, including illness-causing bacteria, attach to food and packaging surfaces, forming biofilms in a complex and multifaceted process.

In order to rid produce of pesky biofilm, a recent discovery that bacteria actually talk to one another, in a process called quorum sensing, was applied in Brandwein’s research. He discovered that this cross-talk is one of the factors that regulate biofilm formation. When certain molecules detect a sufficiently high cell density, they activate a cascade of genetic processes that leads to the bacteria’s adhesion. Controlling the production or integration of these molecules can prevent the bacteria from coordinating to create a biofilm.

This article was first published on NoCamels – Israeli Innovation News and was re-posted with permission. To continue reading this article on the site, click here.

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