A researcher from Israel’s Hebrew University of Jerusalem has developed a new technology to attack bacterial biofilms that adhere to food produce and packaging.

The researcher, Michael Brandwein, focused specifically on corrugated cardboard boxes and incorporated a molecule synthesised at the Hebrew University, called TZD, into anti-biofilm food packaging. In testing conducted at the Biofilm Research Laboratory, the molecule successfully interfered with biofilm formation by bacteria and fungi and also prevented biofilms in recycled water systems.

Corrugated cardboard boxes are used to transport the vast majority of fresh agricultural produce. Brandwein successfully incorporated the technology into industry specific acrylic polymers that can coat the corrugated cardboard.

Brandwein said that millions of dollars have been spent globally to develop antimicrobial polymers, but no one has succeeded in developing and marketing anti-quorum sensing / anti-biofilm polymers.

"We envision our technology being applied to frozen food packaging, poultry and meat packaging and other areas within the food packaging industry," Brandwein added.

Brandwein is a researcher under the supervision of Professor Doron Steinberg from the Biofilm Research Laboratory of the Hebrew University’s Dental Faculty. Through its technology transfer company, Yissum, the Hebrew University holds granted patents on the process and has signed an agreement with B.G. Tech of Kibbutz Beit Guvrin for its further development and commercialisation.

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Image: Michael Brandwein (L), and Prof Doron Steinberg. Photo: courtesy of Hebrew University.