Speedy system to stop spoilage in beer

Tuesday, 19 March, 2024

Speedy system to stop spoilage in beer

Researchers at a startup in Brazil are working to develop a system that detects the presence of microorganisms capable of marring a beer’s flavour and aroma in more stages than ever of production.

Supported by FAPESP’s Innovative Research in Small Business Program, EasyOmics researchers are developing a tool that can be used by breweries in all stages of beer production and at points of sale. Whilst breweries already watch out for beer spoilage microorganisms during production, this tool aims to make spoilage checks at other points of the brewing process previously unavailable, including the testing of raw materials.

The system can have a result in an hour, compared with one or two weeks for conventional test results. “The faster it can be done, the better. The longer the liquid is held in the tank, the longer it takes to produce the beer,” said Rene Aduan Junior, a biotechnologist and master brewer at EasyOmics.

If a small quantity of spoilage microorganisms is detected before the bottling stage, the microorganisms can be eliminated or made inert with seven or eight pasteurisation units (PUs). One PU is defined as one minute at 60°C or the equivalent time-temperature effect on microorganisms. Beer is typically given 10–100 PUs, but 5 PUs is enough in most cases. “Higher levels of contamination require more PUs,” Aduan said.

A startup supported by FAPESP is developing a solution to detect beer spoilage microorganisms, which affect flavour and aroma, both in the brewery and at the point of sale. Image credit: EasyOmics.

Proof of concept has been completed and the system will be in use at breweries in Brazil before the year is out. This device is estimated to cost around AU$18,300. “We want to offer a cheaper option for smaller breweries. Although the giants dominate the market, with a share approaching 90%, we want to offer a solution for micro, small and medium producers. We know how important it is to help innovation penetrate areas where it’s lacking,” Aduan said.

With future development and specifications, the concept could also be used in tools for other segments of the food and beverage industry.

Top image credit: iStock.com/Portra

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