For centuries, silver has offered an alternative use as an antimicrobial—an agent that kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms. Specifically, Silver Dihydrogen Citrate (SDC) has the capability to usher in a new era of effectiveness in killing germs on hard surfaces and opening a range of opportunities for which silver and SDC-based products can be used. For the food industry, the technology is used to slow the proliferation of foodborne pathogens from raw or contaminated foods and to control the introduction of harmful bacteria to food from unclean surfaces.
Preventing Foodborne Illnesses
SDC can offer a solution for cleaning and disinfecting food manufacturing and processing plants as well as food service operations and commercial cooking spaces.
PURE Bioscience, creator of the patented SDC antimicrobial, has submitted SDC for clearance by the FDA as a food processing aid for poultry and produce, and will soon be submitting for use on meats. As a processing aid, SDC is removed from the treated food during processing but can drastically reduce the pathogenic organisms left on food during processing activities. In testing completed on SDC as an intervention in the processing of poultry, application of SDC during on-line reprocessing generated a greater than 6 log reduction in Salmonella (essentially eliminating it below detection levels) post chill.
The EPA registered SDC-based product offers disinfection efficacy without the requirement of rinsing the treated surfaces before food is allowed to contact the surface. It also offers residual kill on surfaces treated for up to 24 hours, and due to the nature of ionic silver and SDC’s multiple modes of action, SDC does not promote microbial resistance.
How it Works
SDC utilizes a multiple prong attack against microorganisms. The bacterial outer membrane is called the cell wall and is made of peptidoglycan that provides protection and rigidity to the organism. The exact membrane constitution depends on the type of bacteria. SDC targets an organism’s cell wall. Silver ions are highly attracted to sulfur-containing thiol groups found in metabolic and structural proteins bound to the membrane surface. SDC targets these critical proteins and destroys their structure. This disruption of the organism’s membrane function and integrity lyses the membrane, causing the organism to die.
Unlike traditional antimicrobials, bacteria are actually attracted to SDC because they recognize citric acid as a food source. This “Trojan Horse” attack allows SDC to easily enter the microorganism through membrane transport proteins. Once inside the organism, SDC binds to DNA and intracellular proteins causing irreversible damage to the DNA and protein structure, which halts the microbe’s ability to replicate and leads to its death. Viruses are much smaller than bacterial and fungal cells and do not have metabolic activity. Viruses present fewer targets sites on which a biocide can act. Silver targets the viral envelope or capsid and the viral nucleic acid. Silver not only destroys the viral envelope or capsid, preventing the virus from attaching to a host cell, it also destroys the infectious component of the virus, the nucleic acid.
SDC’s stabilized silver ion complex has a shelf life of several years. The unique bond of the silver ion in SDC allows the silver ion to remain stable in solution while at the same time making it more bio-available for antimicrobial action.
This technology can help bring a wave of relief to the food manufacturing and food service industries by helping to minimize foodborne illnesses and curtail potential financial losses while maximizing food safety and food quality.
Lambert is CEO of Pure Bioscience and can be reached at [email protected].