If you are a sandwich lover or can’t start your day without the perfect slice of toast, then your days of moldy bread may soon be long gone.
Innovators at MicroZap have developed a technique to keep you from wasting bread and save you money.
The company zaps the bread using a microwave-type machine to kill mold before it can spread within a matter of ten seconds. The bread can stay mold-free for up to two months.
“We treated bread in the device, and after 60 days, it had the same mold content as fresh bread coming out of the package,” said MicroZap CEO and director Don Stull.
The only change researchers found was a shift in water content once the bread was zapped.
“But it was not noticeable on any taste tests that we did,” Stull said.
Bread mold, scientifically known as Rhizopus stolonifer, typically develops when bread is left in humid environments such as in a plastic or paper wrap. Bread that is not stored in the refrigerator usually molds within an average of ten days.
Most bread-makers rely on preservatives to keep bread as fresh as possible.
“Preservatives to extend shelf life, and additives to mask the taste of the preservatives,” Stull said.
MicroZap originally created the method to kill bacteria like salmonella and MRSA. The device can also be used on meats and vegetables to maintain freshness.
Although their device uses microwave technology, Stull says to think twice before using your home microwave to get the same results.
“We penetrate the chamber in a multiple different ways and with multiple different sources, which allows us to get a uniform signal,” Stull explained.
The MicroZap device is uniquely designed to emit a zap that is not hot or cold and won’t accidentally cook the bread, veggie or meat.
Food industry experts believe the new technology can aid food scarcity in third world countries with little food supply and little to no food safety regulations.
Stull says the device can also help curb safety issues in the U.S. as well.
“Salmonella is unfortunately fairly ubiquitous in the pet food industry,” he said. “People really love their pets, so we’ve done a lot of work with pet food and pet treats.”
However, some industry experts question just how long the bread treated by MicroZap’s technology can truly last.
“There would certainly be some questions that I would have around the texture of the bread holding for 60 days,” said Brian Strouts, head of experimental baking for the American Institute of Baking. “Bread could still get stale, crumbly, or rancid.”
Strouts is critical of whether the little zap could truly solve bread’s moldy problems.