Rheonix targets perfect pint with beer spoilage detection tech

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: Istock
Picture: Istock

Related tags: Brewing

Rheonix has launched an assay for detecting beer spoilage on its recently unveiled platform for food and beverage testing.

The Beer SpoilerAlert assay is for use on the Encompass Optimum workstation.

The firm said it is the first fully automated assay for detecting beer spoilage organisms and to simultaneously detect microorganisms and hops-resistance genes.

It targets L. brevis, P. claussenii, Pediococcus spp., S. cerevisiae and S. pastorianus among others.

How it works and trial

SpoilerAlert assays are designed to run on the Rheonix CARD cartridge in the workstation. Each cartridge can process four samples and the workstation can do six cartridges at a time, for a total throughput of 24 samples in five hours.

The assay can provide results in five hours (without enrichment) or next day with enrichment, versus four to seven days for conventional culture-based detection methods.

Many microorganisms naturally present throughout the brewing process can survive in beer and result in spoilage, negatively affecting flavor, appearance and aroma.

Rheonix said in an evaluation with an unnamed US brewery, the assay demonstrated consistent next-day detection of microorganisms and the genes that enable these organisms to spoil beer.

In the evaluation, over 300 beer samples collected from tanks and bottles were tested side by side with the Beer SpoilerAlert assay and standard microbiological methods.

The automated system requires 10 minutes of hands-on time and lab technicians can place 24 samples on the workstation, press “go” and walk away.

Greg Galvin, CEO and chairman of Rheonix, said: “This technology will help breweries get results sooner and release product to market more quickly, while ensuring the product maintains its quality from the moment a brewmaster formulates it to the time it reaches a consumer’s hands.”

The second generation of the Beer SpoilerAlert assay is in development and additional preliminary targets include Saccharomyces diastaticus​, AAB, Oenococcus oeni,Zygosaccharomyces bailii, Lactobacillus spp., Megasphaera and Pectinatus​.

A Wine SpoilerAlert assay is in the pipeline for Q2 2017 and assays for Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7 and Listeria are also in development.

Platform introduction at IAFP

Rheonix introduced the Encompass Optimum Workstation at the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Annual Meeting.

It provides sample-to-answer, multiplexed testing for food and environmental samples.

The firm said its expansion in food and beverage testing will build upon success in research and clinical laboratories.

The workstation enables detection of up to 22 targets per sample with one pipetting step and 15-minute hands-on time, enabling technicians to place 12 or 24 enriched samples on the workstation, press “go,” and let it run. 

It detects the targets per sample using reverse dot blot technology and can detect genus, species, strains and virulence factors in one assay.

The firm claimed the sample preparation enables greater sensitivity, higher accuracy and fewer failures than other molecular methods.

The workstation does sample preparation and detection on board, including removal of sample matrix and PCR inhibitors, and concentration, purification amplification and detection of DNA.

“We are excited about the progress we have made in the applied markets side of our business, and we look forward to seeing the impact our unique technology can have on the food and beverage testing market,”​ said Galvin.

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