Should You Always Throw Moldy Bread Out?
The common conception is that when we see mold on one slice of bread, we must throw the rest of the loaf out. However, Austrian researchers used the Videometer technology to test if mold and mycotoxins infect slices in a loaf that do not have visible moldy spots. The results of the recently conducted study by Austrian Competence Centre for Feed and Food Quality, Safety & Innovation (FFoQSI) might help the fight against a common problem – food waste.
Mold can cause health problems due to allergens and mycotoxins (potentially toxic substances). Bread is one of the most customary food products worldwide. This product has a short shelf life due to its high pH level and high-water activity hence it often goes bad before the customer consumes it. Some food technologists try to overcome this issue with special packaging, coatings, or preservatives to limit mold growth. However, some of these methods cause the bread to go stale which decreases its value and quality.
How to analyse moldy bread?
The study conducted by FFoQSI investigated if the mold found on some parts of sliced bread in effect makes the whole product inedible. To ensure the reliability of the research they researched utilized three different methods of analysis – DNA barcoding, targeted metabolite profiling, and multispectral imaging.
Store-bought bread was kept for longer than the etiquette recommended, ensuring the growth of mold. After five weeks, researchers observed spots of mold on two of the most outer slices of bread. Then, using the three techniques, they investigated if the slices close to the infected ones also grew moldy species.
With human naked eye, they were not able to observe any changes on the third and fourth slices. However, by using the VideometerLab, with 19 different wavelengths they were able to further analyze the sample. Normalized canonical discriminant analysis (nCDA) proved that there were no changes in color, which proved that no fungal growth could be detected. The non-destructive food analysis with VideometerLab is a tested method and can be used for various solid and liquid products.
The analysis was followed by using DNA barcoding together with PCR primers to identify specific genomes of mold. Lastly, the multi-mycotoxin method was used to uncover growing molds and their metabolites. Both techniques illustrated a lack of dangerous components on slices that did not have visible moldy spots.
Spectral Imaging for Food Waste Management
The researchers concluded that the common conception might be false and should be further investigated with a larger sample size. According to their analysis, moldy bread slices do not indicate that the whole loaf should be discarded. This research conducted with the VideometerLab, proves the role of Spectral Imaging for the prevention of food waste.