Process for preventing mole spores in bread could revolutionize baking

AP/Austin American-Statesman:
Attention, bread shoppers: A Texas company could have the answer to some consumers' unwelcome discovery that just-purchased loaves contain mold.

MicroZap Inc. claims its technology allows bread to stay mold-free for 60 days. The bread is bombarded with microwaves for about 10 seconds, which kills the mold spores, said chief executive officer Don Stull said.

The process could eliminate bakers' need for preservatives and ingredients used to mask preservatives' flavor, as well as reduce food waste and increase bread's shelf life, he said.

Researchers at Texas Tech University also see using the technology in bread made in developing countries, where there are fewer food safety standards and spoilage is a problem.

"It could help us provide an abundant food source for those in need," said Mindy Brashear, director of the Lubbock university's Center for Food Industry Excellence. The prospect of helping people in developing countries is what motivated the microbiology professor to help develop the technology over the last eight years.

After 60 days, researchers found the treated bread that remained packaged had the same mold content when compared to a freshly baked loaf, Stull said. In the end, though, he knows it comes down to consumers' palates.

"The consumers saw no discernible quality difference in the breads," Stull said of testers who found the treated bread's taste and texture unchanged.
Some have expressed concern that the bread may be vulnerable to mold once reopened after purchase, but it is not clear to me why consumers could not hit with a 10 second zap after opening it.   It seems to me that if the microwaves are effective at killing mole spores that may be a way of treating houses that have been infected with mold making them unhealthy for the occupants.  I have found that bleach is also an effective treatment for removing mold when mixed with water and soap.  I used it on the interior of my boat and it left it clean and fresh.


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