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The Kay Prize was awarded to Michael Brandoin, a student from the Hebrew University, who found a way to protect fruits and vegetables from bacteria

Michael Brandwein, a new immigrant from the United States and a master's student in biomedical sciences at the Hebrew University discovered a way to neutralize the bacteria with an innovative polymer.

Michael Brandwein, 2014 Kay Award winner, Photo: The Hebrew University
Michael Brandwein, 2014 Kay Award winner, Photo: The Hebrew University

Eating fruits and vegetables is not always so good for health. The nutritional value of fruits sometimes comes with the accompaniment of bacteria that 'stick' to the fruits and vegetables and the packaging in which they arrive.

Michael Brandwein, a new immigrant from the United States and a master's student in biomedical sciences at the Hebrew University discovered a way to neutralize these bacteria with an innovative polymer. This development earned him the Kay Award, which was presented to him as part of the University's Board of Trustees events.

Application, the technology commercialization company of the Hebrew University holds approved patents on the technology, which are successfully commercialized to B.G. Technologies from Kibbutz Beit Govrin, for further development and production.

Accumulation of bacteria is a growing problem in the food industry in general and in fresh produce in particular, especially given the fact that fresh produce is often consumed without prior cooking. Also, awareness of the health benefits of fruits and vegetables has led to an increase in their consumption. Accumulation of bacteria creates a biofilm, a membrane that results in the proliferation of bacteria, which communicate with each other through signals they secrete to each other. In this way, the harmful bacteria can multiply and become violent towards the host body - the fruit, the vegetable and the packaging.

The TZD-6 molecule is a unique development of the Hebrew University. This molecule fights the accumulation of bacteria by disrupting communication between them. The bacteria, which cannot recognize what is in their environment, do not multiply and do not become violent and harmful because they believe they are alone.

The innovation in Brandwein's research, conducted under the direction of Professor Doron Steinberg, from the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Hebrew University, is the creation of a polymer into which the molecule that disrupts inter-bacterial communication has been embedded.
The polymer called quorum quenching polymer can be used as a coating for the cartons in which the fruits and vegetables are sent. In this way, the fruits and vegetables collected from the field arrive at their destination wrapped in a layer of protection against bacteria
"We have shown that these polymers can significantly reduce the formation of the biofilm in the fruit and vegetable packaging, which leads to a more efficient method of transporting food," says Brandwein, adding that "millions of dollars have been invested around the world to develop polymers that would eliminate the bacteria, but an anti-accumulation polymer has not yet been developed germs. Therefore we anticipate that our product will enjoy exclusivity for many years to come. We anticipate that the technology we have developed will be applied not only in the transportation of fruits and vegetables, but will also be applied in frozen food packaging, poultry and meat packaging, and in other areas of the food industry."
Brandwein adds that the commercial advantage of the unique method he developed is in extending the shelf life of the agricultural produce and reducing contamination in the food products.

The Kay Awards ceremony has been held every year at the Hebrew University since 1994. The award is given by Yitzhak Kay from England, and is given to students and faculty members of the university who have brought about new scientific discoveries and developments.

3 תגובות

  1. Good Morning.
    Is it possible to wash fruit intended for export? In order to prevent rotting due to humid conditions and the like.

  2. Maybe they will try this molecule for toothpaste? There are many applications where preventing the creation of a biofilm of bacteria will be very important.

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