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Invention prevents contamination of food packaging by bacterial biofilms

he bacteria from coordinating to create a biofilm.

Along those lines, Brandwein has incorporated a novel molecule synthesized at the Hebrew University, called TZD, into anti-biofilm food packaging. At the Biofilm Research Laboratory the molecule successfully interfered with biofilm formation by bacteria and fungi. It has also been tested successfully to prevent biofilms in recycled water systems.

Brandwein's research has focused specifically on corrugated cardboard boxes, the worldwide medium for transporting the vast majority of fresh agricultural produce. The technology has now been successfully incorporated into industry-specific acrylic polymers, meant to coat the corrugated cardboard used in the fresh produce.

"We have shown that these 'quorum quenching polymers' dramatically reduce the biofilm load on corrugated cardboard, leading to a healthier and more efficient method of transporting today's food," says Brandwein.

The Hebrew University, through its technology transfer company, Yissum, holds granted patents on the process, and has signed an agreement with B.G. Tech of Kibbutz Beit Guvrin for further development and commercialization.

"While millions of dollars have been spent globally to develop antimicrobial polymers, no one has succeeded in developing and marketing anti-quorum sensing/anti-biofilm polymers. We therefore predict that our product will enjoy exclusivity for many years to come," said Brandwein. "We envision our technology being applied to frozen food packaging, poultry and meat packaging and other areas within the food packaging industry."

The researchers predict revenue potential in the many millions of dollars. In addition to addressing health concerns, preventing food contamination has significant economic implications for increasing the shelf life of products.

Growers are also a potential source of income, since bacterial biofilms are also a major source of post-harvest crop

Contact: Dov Smith
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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