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Nuking your Bread to Keep it Fresh—and at What Expense? 

Every month, Americans throw out about 40 percent of the food they buy, wasting $2,275 per year. Fruits, vegetables and dairy products go bad quickly, but one of the things most likely to end up in the trash is moldy bread.

The fungus that causes sour-smelling bread mold is Rhizopus stolonifer, and it grows best in warm, damp environments. A company MicroZap has come up with a simple way to make bread stay fresh and mold-free for as long as 60 days, reducing the chances of it ending up in the trash.

MicroZap's technique is exactly what the company's name implies: They've found a way to zap bread with a special microwave-like device, killing mold spores. It takes about 10 seconds, and the bread stays mold-free for about two months.

"We treated bread in the device, and after 60 days, it had the same mold content as fresh bread coming out of the package," Mircrozap CEO. It had slightly different water content after being zapped, "but it was not noticeable on any taste tests that we did." The change in water content "may have had to do with the fact that the taste test was 60 days later," he added.

MicroZap's technology was originally designed to kill bacteria like salmonella and MRSA, and can also treat most meats and vegetables to keep them fresh longer.

Even though people tend to associate a super-long shelf-life with fake food (like Twinkies), there's no question that mold-free bread and bacteria-free fruit is appealing. MicroZap's technology could be a huge benefit in developing countries where food availability is scarce and safety standards nearly non-existent.

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Dr. Iverson's Comment

As much as I am against the use of preservatives to keep food lasting longer—the use of microwaves to preserve the freshness sound just as suspect.  As you may have seen in former posts, when feeding plant microwaved water their growth is inhibited and they do not show the same proliferation as plants fed non-microwaved water.  The effect of subjecting your food to radiation is not potentially understood and will take years for science to fully recognize.  Until then, I’d recommend only buying real food with natural shelf-life expectancy and allow Nature to take run its course turning it back to soil from which it came. 


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