Scientists Teaching Bacteria to Preserve Food

“Scientists are using drug development techniques to create a healthy alternative to chemical food preservatives. They ‘educate’ bacteria to create proteins that can preserve food safely without any of the health concerns associated with the benzoates, sorbates, propionates, nitrites, and other chemicals we see listed on food labels. ‘What we’re trying to do is maintain our functioning food supply chain while providing healthy alternatives to food preservatives,’ Fabian Trumper, co-founder and CEO of Israeli food tech startup Bountica, tells NoCamels. Food manufacturers around the world use synthetic antibacterial agents to destroy bacteria or prevent mold growth. Bountica does the same thing by fermenting organic matter into a tasteless powder or liquid that is added to food in tiny amounts. The process is normally used to develop new drugs and has never before been used for food. ‘Just a handful of companies in the world are using this process for products that are not for pharma, and we are one of them.’ He says the proteins they create are fully digestible and safe to consume, unlike synthetic alternatives, and he hopes to achieve the regulatory approvals they need soon, so they can start selling to manufacturers. All the fungi that spoil food share the same metabolic pathway–a series of connected chemical reactions that feed one another. Bountica targets a very specific protein function, disrupting its functionality, and inhibiting the growth of all fungi. In other words, it actually stops the development of the cell structure of yeast and other contaminants. ‘It’s like throwing a wrench in a sequence of moving cogs,’ says Trumper.”

“Israeli Scientists,”, Oct. 16, 2022