Israeli scientists ‘teach’ bacteria how to store food safely

Bountica creates preservatives that are not bad for people or the environment. A new process creates a natural alternative to synthetic preservatives.

Scientists are using drug development techniques to create a healthy alternative to chemical food preservatives.

Educating bacteria to create proteins that can safely preserve food without any of the health concerns associated with chemicals that we see on food labels.

Food manufacturers around the world use synthetic antibacterial agents to destroy bacteria or prevent mold growth. Bountica does the same fermentation of organic matter into a tasteless powder or liquid that is added to food in small amounts.

They use a process called precision fermentationin which microbes break down organic compounds (such as sugars) and are directed to produce a specific product i.e. proteins which act as safe food preservatives.

The process is normally used to develop new drugs and has never been used before for food.

Only a few companies in the world use this process for non-pharmaceutical products.

They claim that the the proteins they create are fully digestible and safe for consumptionunlike the synthetic alternatives, and hope to get the regulatory approvals they need soon, so they can start selling to manufacturers.

Of course, they don’t want to disclose the source of the protein.

We consume preservatives daily, because 75% of the foods we eat today are processed and contain them. Although they are only a small component of our diet, preservatives have big implications.

The protein created by Bountica is tasteless, does not affect the nutritional benefits of food, and is broken down in our body after consumption.

The microbes are grown in a large vat and feed on organic matter and minerals to create these proteins. Scientists use small electrical pulses and specific increases in temperature to encourage bacteria to create them instead of other byproducts.

The end product is a concentrated powder or liquid that is used in very small quantities.

Bountica targets a very specific protein function, disrupting its functionality and inhibiting the growth of all fungi. It actually stops the development of the cell structure of yeasts and other contaminants.

The residues from the fermentation process are organic and consist of 60% protein. It can be dried and sold for use as fertilizer or as a protein source for animal or pet food.

Bountica plans to improve the efficiency of its proteins and production process, and is already in talks with potential partners to use them in pilot studies early next year.

Bountica is also in talks with interested companies from Israel, Europe and Asia who are waiting for them to finish testing their product.

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