Ropiness in bread - is early detection possible?
Although the problem of spoilage of bread due to rope has been recognized for many years, no means of prevention have yet been found. Rope spoilage is induced primarily by Bacillus subtilis, but ohter Bacillus species can also cause such spoilage. Investigations have confirmed that there are both rope-forming strains and strains that are not rope-formers within one Bacillus species. Comparison studies on rope formers and other Bacillus strains demonstrated that the intensity of ropiness is dependent not only on the respective Bacillus strain but also on its cell count. The Alfa-Amylase activity of the strongest rope former was much higher than of other rope-forming strains. The results suggest that Alfa-Amylase may also contribute to the development of rope spoilage, although it is not necessarily the only cause of the spoilage. Further investigations on the enzyme activity will confirm the factors that contribute to the occurrence of ropiness.
Investigations confirmed that acidification of the bread dough using a preferment can successfully suppress rope spoilage. An other method may be the inclusion of additives, such as sodium diacetate.
The development of a practical, fast and simple detection method for rope forming Bacillus strains is critical important.