American firm Microzap has developed a technique capable of keeping bread mould-free for up to 60 days. Typically bread goes mouldy in around 10 days, but by preserving its life the technology could slash the amount of wasted bread – in the UK alone, this equates to almost a third of loaves purchased.

According to a report by the BBC, the company’s device has already attracted plenty of interest from bread manufacturers. However there are concerns that consumers may not show an appetite for such longevity over what is considered a ‘fresh’ product.

Microzap’s chief executive Don Stull admitted consumer acceptance might be an issue, but argued that if the feel of the product felt right in terms of quality, initial reluctance could be overcome.

The technology works by zapping bread in a sophisticated microwave array to kill off the mould spores. Microwave frequencies are introduced in different ways, through a slotted radiator to generate a homogeneous signal density in the chamber.

Originally designed to kill bacteria such as MRSA and salmonella, researchers found the technology could kill the mould spores in bread in around 10 seconds.

Stull claims the technique can also be used with a wide range of foods including fresh turkey and many fruits and vegetables. He also said the technology could impact bread in other ways, by enabling bakers to reduce the use of additives in their products.

Maxine Perella

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