New Product Can Zap Away Mold
A Texas company may have finally solved the ages-old problem of moldy bread. Lubbock-based MicroZap Inc. is marketing a microwave that "zaps" the mold off of bread. "We can actually treat the bread and kill the mold that's on there, and we have gone up to 60 days without having any mold growth on the bread," says Mindy Brashears from the Center for Food Industry Excellence at Texas Tech University. Brashears and other researchers at the school have helped develop the "Microzap" technology over the past eight years. It utilizes a special microwave that hits the bread with waves for about 10 seconds that kill off the mold spores, leaving it as fresh as new.
For now, the company is still seeking a patent and looking for investors to help market the technology. The microwaves could eventually be available to purchase for home use, but initially MicroZap hopes to use the process at the production stage of the bread, so consumers can purchase a loaf that's already been "treated" for mold. Brashears says it has numerous potential benefits, including providing bread for developing countries that have weak food safety standards, or getting it to soldiers deployed overseas without fear of spoilage. It also could eliminate the need for preservatives and chemicals in bread. "You could go back to more of what we think of as fresh, homemade bread without the added ingredients."
The MicroZap doesn't only apply to bread, either. "It's very effective in killing listeria and salmonella in fruits and vegetables," says Brashears. "We've even used if for peanuts and peanut butter." What remains to be seen is if consumers, and by extension, bread manufacturers, are willing to pay more for the technology. If they are, there could be a lot of "bread" in it for everyone involved.
Check out a video presentation on MicroZap technology.