Agroscope and ebeam Declare Joint War on Harmful Organisms

Bern, 23.11.2017 - Agroscope, the Swiss federal centre of excellence for research in the agriculture and food sector, is signing an agreement with ebeam Technologies. The focus of the agreement: treating food with low-energy electrons.

Viruses, bacteria and fungi represent a major problem for food safety and quality. Developed by ebeam and tested by Agroscope, a new non-thermal and chemical-free process involving low-energy electrons allows the inactivation of undesirable microbes.

Tests on seeds highly promising

Although ebeam technology with low-energy electrons is not new, it was previously used exclusively in the disinfection and hygienisation of surfaces and packaging materials in the pharmaceutical and packaging industries. Together with ebeam, Agroscope is now going a step further and testing the process for the treatment of food surfaces.

“The advantage of low-energy electrons is that they are highly controllable, and thus, for example, only penetrate a few micrometres deep into the matrix. This means that the surfaces of plant material can be treated gently; sensitive internal structures and constituents can be preserved, and seeds can retain their germinability” explains David Drissner, continuing: “Despite this, the electrons provide enough energy to inactivate surface microorganisms”. The Head of Agroscope’s ‘Microbiology of Plant Foods’ Research Group, Drissner is responsible for the ebeam project.

Agroscope researchers are currently working with bacteria and moulds. Danai Etter explored the subject in her Master’s thesis, comparing the response of vegetative cells and spores to electron treatment. “The results are highly promising” Drissner confirms.

Agreement is a first step

The signed agreement between ebeam Technologies and Agroscope represents a first step; both organisations hope that yet more partners from the food-processing sector will join them in the near future.

Companies wishing to increase the safety of their products with ebeam can try out the method in advance on a small scale at the ebeam Technologies site in Flamatt, Switzerland. It’s also worth knowing that the Bühler technologies group and the meat-and-convenience-food manufacturers Bell Food Group are simultaneously working to integrate this technology into industrial process lines as a method for inactivating microorganisms on foods.

Address for enquiries

Michael Gysi
Head of Agroscope
Schwarzenburgstrasse 161, 3003 Bern / Switzerland
+41 58 463 81 12 | Good food, healthy environment

Charles Flükiger
President ebeam Technologies, a brand of the Comet Group
Herrengasse 10, 3175 Flamatt / Switzerland
+41 31 744 97 69



Last modification 03.10.2018

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