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Mmmmm.... Juice

Did your mother ever tell you to drink orange juice when you're sick? Well, it's chalk full of Vitamin C, the vitamin most often associated with your immune system health. Fruit and vegetable juice is not only delicious but also has a wide variety of health benefits. However, putting those fruits and veggies into a form that is easy to consume and digest also makes it that much easier for spoilage microbes to get in and wreak havoc. Here at Twin Arbor Labs, our scientists utilize industry accepted methods to ensure your products are safe for every consumer, especially those sick kids at home.

The Alicyclobacillus spp. Problem

In recent years, Alicyclobacillus species have become the most serious threat of the juice industry. It's been estimated that 30% of juice spoilage is due to an Alicyclobacillus species. The problem is that spoilage due to the presence of Alicyclobacillus is often difficult to detect. This is because there is no swelling of the container through gas production, which unfortunately means that contamination cannot be perceived until your consumer complains. Additionally, it does not take a large concentration of Alicyclobacillus before spoilage occurs, making this microorganism a serious problem for the juice industry. Screening, especially fruit juices, for viable Alicyclobacillus spores has therefore become one of the key tools for preventing spoilage. 

Image by Birgith Roosipuu
Image by Birgith Roosipuu
Safety Concerns

In unpasteurized juices, food borne outbreaks associated with contamination are most often attributed to E. coli (STEC), Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus. However, Listeria species should also be taken into consideration as they are able to survive throughout the entire juice production line. 

Pasteurized juices, although inherently safer due to the overall lower microbial loads, can still contain spoilage microbes from extremely heat resistant spores that are able to survive thermal pasteurization. These include Clostridium botulinum, Bacillus and Alicyclobacillus species. Due to Alicyclobacillus species high prevalence in the juice industry it has been proposed as a target microorganism to control the effectiveness of the pasteurization process in acidic fruit juices.

Suggested Microbial Services

  • qPCR analyses:

    • We utilize qPCR analysis, a DNA approach, to screen for both spoilage microbes as well as food pathogens.

      • For spoilage microbes we can typically get results in 24-48 hours, compared to traditional culture/plating techniques. This can be a huge advantage in mitigating potential spoilage events before they get to market.

      • This system can also be used to verify that newly implemented processes such as filtration or sterilization are effective by screening the product before and after.

      • For our food pathogen qPCR analysis, samples are enriched for 24-48 hours prior to analysis to promote growth of food pathogens that maybe in low abundance or under stress. 

  • Shelf-life studies:

    • This reveals the stability of your product over time. Analytical tests can be added to a microbial stability study that provide insight into whether decomposition of flavor compounds occurs, or whether heavy metals are present due to leaching or corrosion of the packaging material.

Suggested Analytical Services

  • pH​

  • Total acidity

  • Total sugar (glucose, fructose, sucrose)

  • Vitamins

  • Amino acids

  • Mineral and heavy metals

  • Juice preservative quantification (sodium benzoate, Benzaldehyde)

  • Mycotoxins (aflatoxins, ochratoxin A)

  • Guaiacol (a primary spoilage compound associated with Alicyclobacillus species)

  • Residual Pesticides

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