(ORDO NEWS) — Beer spoilage bacteria are a problem for beer makers. Now, Chinese researchers have come up with a fast way to detect harmful microorganisms in real time and throughout the brewing process.
Humans have been using lactic acid bacteria for thousands of years to make everything from cheese and yogurt to sauerkraut and pickles.
But not everywhere these microorganisms are beneficial: when they get into beer, they cause spoilage, causing multimillion-dollar losses to producers of this drink around the world.
Even small amounts of bacteria introduced into beer for example, by adding contaminated yeast lead to a significant increase in lactic acid and diacetyl concentrations.
As a result, upon opening a sealed bottle, the consumer, at best, will experience a slight sour taste, and at worst, get food poisoning.
Traditional methods for detecting lactic acid bacteria are time consuming and do not provide continuous quality control of the drink during the brewing process.
A promising way to solve the problem is to apply Raman spectroscopy . However, it also has a drawback: a poor signal-to-noise ratio, which makes it difficult to accurately identify the detected microorganism.
To remedy this shortcoming, Chinese researchers have proposed the use of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy ( SERS ) technology, which is more sensitive.
To do this, they improved the existing method of manufacturing silver nanoparticles necessary for spectroscopy, which made it possible to quickly and consistently identify several types of bacteria that cause spoilage of beer.
The method has proven successful in laboratory testing, detecting even small amounts of micro-organisms mixed with pure beer, and machine learning is more than 90 percent accurate in identifying micro-organisms.
Now this quick and relatively inexpensive quality control method can be applied in industrial brewing: without taking much time, it will allow you to control the quality of the product at all stages of production and prevent harmful microorganisms from entering the sealed bottle.
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