New safe Antimicrobial for Food Preservation and Disinfection




Scientists at the University of Surrey have found that a derivative from wood or bark can enhance the antimicrobial activity of natural compounds that are mildly antimicrobial by up to 2000 times. This can be used for many cost effective, natural, long-lasting, anti-microbial products. For example in hospitals to tackle the spread of MRSA, for the treatment of work surfaces, on fresh food to prevent spoilage and for poultry bedding materials to prevent ammonia emissions.



For the food industry our antimicrobial composite offers:

  • Decreased microbial activity on the produce
  • Reduced growth of food pathogens
  • Reduced spoiling to the food
  • Works at elevated moisture levels as the active ingredient is virtually insoluble in water
  • Safe. The materials are already classified as GRAS (generally regarded as safe)
  • Effective at very low concentrations of active ingredient
  • No taste or smell
  • Persistent, giving long term protection
  • Better long lasting quality produce
  • Reduced wastage
  • Cost effective, making it attractive to industries with very small profit margins 
  • Environmental damage reduced


Food packaging and treatment


Within the food industry, anti-microbial products might be used to wash food or as additives to processed foods or to preserve perishable raw items; fruit, vegetables etc.  Increased food safety regulations and the cost of recalls due to contamination are driving processors to search for better solutions to reduce pathogens and spoiling microbes in their produce.  In the wake of changing lifestyles, consumers are looking for convenience foods that are safe over a long storage period, heightening the role of shelf-life extenders.

Pre-harvest waste of fruits and vegetables is around 30% despite the extensive use of pesticides. A further 30-50% is lost post-harvest.  Because post harvest use of traditional pesticides is prohibited or is being phased out, the industry has limited options to prevent spoilage. 



Available for developmental partnership


IP status

Patent Pending

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Jonathan Hodrien
Technology Transfer Manager - University of Surrey
University of Surrey
Frans De Leij
Mina Kalantarzadeh
Tony Hutchings
Dulcie Mulholland
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