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24th August 2015  Content supplied by: Geneius Laboratories Ltd.

Rapidly Identify and Track the Source of Microbial Contaminants in Soft Drinks

Geneius Laboratories Ltd. are working with a significant number of soft drink producers across Europe to precisely identify yeast, mould and bacterial contaminants within products, across processes and through supply chain.

These contamination issues are particularly prevalent in soft drinks where fruit juices and/or extract are added to mixtures which generally do not suffer from a high proportion of spoilage issues due to a relatively low pH, low oxygen and nutrient levels. The technology used by the drinks manufacturers to identify these contaminants is Geneius microID, a ‘Gold Standard’ methodology of 16S/28S rRNA gene sequencing. This methodology is being readily adopted due to the accuracy of the detection, comprehensive databases which assist identification. Once identified, the type of microbe causing the spoilage can determine the reason behind the contamination and can rapidly be traced across processes and supply change. For example, there are certain osmotolerant yeasts that are well adapted for growth in soft drinks (Dekkera spp. used in the wine and brewing industries and found on the skin of fruit and Zygosaccharomyces spp. found in high sugar products such as dried fruit and syrups).

These organisms can cause spoilage from as little as one organism in a container. They are slow growing and the spoilage may not arise until a few weeks after production. They can also resist weak acid preservatives such as benzoic acid. If these organisms are causing spoilage they may well have been introduced by the addition of a fruit pulp or juice and may not be process related. However other yeasts such as Candida spp. or Saccharomyces cerevisiae may contaminate the product through loss of function in processing, for example pasteurisation failure, addition of oxygen or poor hygiene.

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Date Published: 24th August 2015

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