Manufacturers can also test drinks such as milk, juice, cola and red wine with the quick check.
For brewers, a consistently high quality of beer is essential. To ensure this, the companies try to keep the product free from harmful microorganisms.
This is because pathogens that enter into the beer during the brewing process can spoil the pleasure of the drink. They not only provide strong variations in taste and smell; the beer can also become cloudy, sour and unwholesome.
Therefore, quality controls accompany the production process. However, conventional microbiological methods require five to seven days to detect beverage-spoiling organisms, such as bacteria and yeasts. It is often too late at that point to take corrective action.
In collaboration with the company GEN-IAL from Troisdorf, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam have now developed a polymer powder that significantly simplifies these tests and shortens the time that they require.
The company supplies breweries with analysis tools for quality control. From the test to the reliable result takes two to three days.
Until recently, beer has been filtered in special equipment. In this process, the bacteria remain on a membrane and are then elaborately cultivated in a special culture medium before they can be examined microscopically.
The new polymer powder replaces this process: The powder is added to the liquid sample.
The powder's functionalised surface binds the bacteria efficiently. The pathogens adhere to the 100 to 200 micron powder particles.
These can be easily removed along with the microbes in a specially developed system and analyzed directly using various microbiological methods.
With the new method, food experts can investigate beer and other beverages for infection by pathogens, which was hardly or not at all possible with the traditional membrane filtration method.

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