Spring 2023


Corn inoculated with Aspergillus flavus is shown being treated with D-Tox during a demonstration in Jae-Hyuk Yu's lab. Photo by Michael P. King


In The Promise of Safe Food for Billions (Grow, Fall 2021), Jori Skalitzky BS’22 highlighted a new food safety product called D-Tox, which was developed by a CALS research team. Applied in a clear liquid form, D-Tox breaks down dangerous mycotoxins into non-harmful forms, making the foods and animal feeds they contaminate once again safe for consumption.

This same team of scientists — bacteriology and genetics professor Jae-Hyuk Yu, former postdoc Ahmad Alshannaq PhD’18, and food science graduate student Dasol Choi — has now developed two novel food-grade antimicrobial products called Natural Preservative (NP) 1 and 2. They make the products by growing food ingredients in culture media alongside a safe fungus called Aspergillus oryzae. The fungus, also known as kōji mold, has been used in food and beverage fermentation in East Asia since ancient times. When applied to food, the products provide a strong safeguard.

“NP 1 and NP 2 have proven effective against a broad range of food-borne pathogenic bacteria and food-spoilage molds,” says Yu. “And they have very strong antimicrobial effects on various MRSA strains and common, opportunistic human pathogenic fungi, including Aspergillus fumigatus and various Candida species.”

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation has filed an international patent for NP 1 and NP 2, and the products have drawn interest from major food companies, Yu says.

This article was posted in Follow-Up, Food Systems, Health and Wellness, Spring 2023 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .