Rapid detection of pathogens and spoilage organisms is a critical step in microbiology and the brewing industry as microorganisms can negatively affect product quality. The popularity of beer remains high, but the quality of beer has to be very high to survive in a competitive market. Therefore, raw materials, product intermediates, end products, surfaces, and special areas are frequently monitored through hygienic control procedures.
Lactobacilli (beer spoilage organisms)
The common beer spoilage microorganisms are either lactic acid bacteria belonging to the genus Lactobacillus and Pediococcus or the obligate anaerobes of the genus Pectinatus and Megasphaera (Table 1). Among the Lactobacilli species that are known to cause spoilage of beer, only certain strains can grow in the beer and are responsible for spoiling (however, all strains of L. lindneri cause spoilage). L. brevis is the most common beer spoilage bacterium followed by L. lindneri.1
Additionally many wild yeasts are responsible for beer spoilage such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida pelliculosa.2 One of the biggest problems is biofilm formation in beer plants, which makes it very difficult to remove spoilage organisms. Highly skilled lab staff perform microbiological analysis in specific quality control laboratories. Most laboratories still use conventional standard-based cultivation methods, which are very time-consuming and take 3 to 5 days for beer to be released to the market.
HybriScan™ Beer kit is a rapid test system developed in collaboration with Scanbec GmbH. This system is an alternative to the conventional method to detect beer spoilage microorganisms at a faster rate, with reliable results in as little as two hours (pre-enrichment for 24 h, if necessary) for a faster product release.
Species of beer-spoilage microorganisms that can be detected with the HybriScan™ D Beer–kit (Product No. 62533 , 96 assays)
Lactobacillus parabuchneri (frigidus)
HybriScan™ molecular screening system uses sandwich hybridization to provide fast and accurate detection, identification, and quantification of spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms in beer. It is ideal for the comprehensive and reliable routine control of raw materials and concentrates on all production steps up to the quality check of finished goods. The test is based on the detection of rRNA on an economical microtitre plate that takes less than 2 hours. This low-cost molecular biology method uses a photometric readout.
A variety of applications have been developed for HybriScan™ system, including the detection of bacteria and yeast in non-alcoholic beverages. The robustness of the HybriScan™ assay enables it, in contrast to other rapid test systems, to detect bacterial contamination in brewer’s yeast and leads to efficient use of this valuable resource. Furthermore, the HybriScan™ test system is a perfect tool for microbiological control of dispensing equipment. The legal standard for sterility control of dispensing equipment is 100,000 cfu/mL; a fast, direct determination of beer-spoiling bacteria is possible without a pre-enrichment procedure delivering results within two hours.
Performing quality control by using the standard culture-based method is time-consuming. In recent years many companies have developed rapid test systems to hasten this procedure. For quality control of beer and beverages, three main technologies are available:
The benefits of using HybriScan™ over PCR or VIT are given below.
Equivalent results within the limits of microbiological sample variability are displayed for comparison tests between HybriScan™ system and a cultivation-based analytical method (MRS agar). A comparison of these different technologies is given in Table 1.
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