ISRAEL – Biotech start-up, Resorcix and leading Israeli fruit-based beverage solutions manufacturer Gat Foods, have developed a botanical formula to eliminate Thermophilic Acidophilic Bacteria (TAB) that reduce product shelf-life and affect the flavor of ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, including sports and energy drinks.

FLAVORWATCH, the new botanical formula that eliminates TAB in clear, fruit-based soft drinks, has demonstrated its effectiveness in sports beverages in a recent pilot trial, according to the Biotech company.

TAB, a group of nonpathogenic microbes belonging to the Alicyclobacillus family, are known to generate strong off flavors and odors in still RTD beverages and evade pasteurization.

Moreover, all other microorganisms are eliminated during processing, leaving no competition to TAB outgrowth and the production of the phenolic compound, guaiacol.

TAB outgrowth occurs soon after the bottling process and negatively impacts the beverages’ quality and organoleptic properties, leading to customer complaints and costly recalls.

The company flags this new botanical formula as a “breakthrough” solution to the “alarming incidence” of TAB spoilage.

The product is based on a plant resin that kills Alicyclobacillus germinating spores, thus protecting acidic beverages from TAB proliferation throughout the product’s shelf life.

The Resorcix formulation is considered a natural flavoring by the European Food Safety Authority and the US Food and Drug Administration.

Hila Bentman, Marketing Manager of Gat Foods stated: “Sports drinks and non-carbonated energy drinks are enjoying booming growth worldwide, based on their reputation as refreshing trendy beverages that can help support a healthy and active lifestyle.”

According to Innova Market Insights, 65% of Millenials consume sports and functional drinks at least once a week, with other age groups also showing a healthy interest in sports drinks – 57% of Gen Z’s, 59% of Gen Xers and 56% of Boomers also consumed at least one sports drink a week in 2021.

He added that from high-carb, high-mineral, concentrated isotonic beverages to nootropic, botanical-infused drinks that come in exotic flavors, this category of functional drinks is the subject of constant innovation to boost organoleptic and wellness qualities.

Bentman noted that while TAB spoilage can markedly hinder their appeal and the consumer experience and damage the brand’s reputation, FLAVORWATCH dramatically reduces these risks and can help provide peace of mind to beverage manufacturers.

In a recent pilot trial, the team collected several brands of non-carbonated sports and energy beverages from retail shelves. Each product was inoculated with spores of four different Alicyclobacillus acidoterrestris strains to a concentration amounting to 1,500 CFU/liter.

Then, the beverages were divided into two batches. One batch served as the positive control batch, and the second was treated with FLAVORWATCH.

Both batches were pasteurized at 95°C for 30 seconds and hot-filled into bottles. The FLAVORWATCH group demonstrated effective resistance against TAB spoilage during the entire 180-day trial.

The control bottles showed signs of TAB multiplication after just seven days, which include white sediment at the bottom of the bottle, or a hazy appearance, a flat, sour taste with a ‘medicinal,’ ‘smoky,’ or ‘antiseptic’ off-flavor that renders the drink unacceptable for consumption.

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