3M Food Safety has launched an indicator test that enables the detection of yeasts and molds in as little as 48 hours, improving on conventional agar methods.
The 3M Petrifilm Rapid Yeast and Mold Count Plate cuts the waiting time, which for conventional agar testing methods required a five to seven day incubation period.
The sample-ready system uses a three-step process: Inoculation, Incubation and Enumeration and has been tested using dairy, bakery and confectionery products.
3M said benefits included quicker product release – reducing the financial cost of carrying inventory, longer shelf life and faster service in delivering product to customers.
Indicator dyes and growth components
Eric Amann, global marketing manager at 3M Food Safety, said the firm had developed a proprietary formulation involving indicator dyes and growth components that react with enzymes produced by yeasts and molds.
He told FoodQualityNews.com that consequences of not having a good indicator test include varying product freshness and quality in the marketplace and changes in raw materials, the production process and environment may not be detected – leading to severe and costly quality and safety failures down the road.
3M tested the product with naturally and artificially contaminated foods ranging from dairy products, fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, juices and bakery/confectionary products.
“Over 40 strains of yeasts and molds commonly found in food products were included in the testing to validate the performance of the product," he said.
“Depending on the food and stress level exposed to, some yeast and molds may show up faintly at first, with their interpretation/appearance being enhanced over a longer period of incubation.”
It is designed to be incubated at either 25°C or 28°C to leverage biological processes that will speed up detection.
This offers the end user the flexibility and latitude to choose the temperature that works best for their foods and strains present in that food, he added.
3M improved upon its current yeast and mold plate by introducing a circular foam barrier to the plate, similar to what is found on other 3M Petrifilm plates such as the Coliform Count plate.
The 3M Petrifilm Rapid Yeast and Mold Count Plate results in blue-colored yeast and mold colonies and contains technological enhancements that prevent colonies from spreading or overlapping.
“This foam barrier provides a defined, circular zone in the center of plate into which the inoculum can be dispensed and easily spread by placing the flat spreader on top of the inoculation area,” said Amann.
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