Licence deal for rapid
pathogen killing technology
of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Licence-deal-for-rapid-pathogen-killing-technology
By Jane Byrne, 22-Apr-2009
technology that can kill foodborne pathogens in a minute has been licensed
to an anti-bacteria product manufacturer, according to the US university
that developed it.
The technology was invented by scientists based at the Center for
Food Safety (CFS) in the University of Georgia (UGA) and is targeted at
bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria.
Gene Gama, technology manager at the UGA’s Research Foundation told
FoodProductionDaily.com that a recently signed licence agreement with
Health Pro enables the development of a range of products from a wash,
spray, immersion solution and additive based on the UGA technology.
He claims that the products will be available to food processors in
the near future and can be used on equipment and transportation vehicles or
directly on foods such as leafy greens, meats and poultry.
The technology, explained Gama, can destroy pathogens in one minute
through the disruption of the cell walls of microorganisms and through
interference with their metabolism.
He said that CFS scientists and the licensee are collaborating with
companies representing various sectors within the food industry to assess
the innovative technology at these facilities.
“Testing of the technology in specific food processing settings is
necessary to adjust factors such as concentration and duration of wash to
optimize efficacy,” he continued.
According to Gama, the technology is comprised of a combination of
at least two compounds that are already approved by the US Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) for use in the food industry and as food additives.
“They [the compounds] are considered by the FDA as Generally
Regarded As Safe (GRAS). When mixed, they don’t react with each other,
rather they display a synergistic effect reaching bactericidal levels
around 99.99999%,” he said.
Specific uses or claims may require FDA or other regulatory
approval, added Gama.
He said that research on the technology took several years, with
scientists testing a multitude of reagents and methods to address food
contamination from farm to fork.
“The components are used in very low concentrations and do not
change taste, appearance, texture of food items, even items as delicate as
sprouts and fresh leafy spices, such as parsley. The technology was tested
in a multitude of vegetables, fruit and meats,”
Gama said that the technology has also shown remarkable effects
against biofilms, which can prove stubborn to remove in certain areas
within food processing facilities. However, he maintains it is not only
limited to bacteria, with tests indicating that protozoa are also killed by
And he maintains that in some food processing applications, products
based on the UGA technology may be more effective, easier and safer to use
than concentrated chlorine or bleach washes.
The licence agreement with Health Pro is effective in select
countries including the US, said Gama.