Austrian researchers hatch plan to protect eggs

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In Austria, researchers have found a microorganism that eliminates germs from hatching eggs and could one day replace current chemical-based methods.

Hatcheries usually prevents bacterial contamination of hatching eggs by fumigating with formaldehyde—a volatile and carcinogenic gas that can impact local air quality.

However, researchers at TU Graz, the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology, and the start-up Roombiotic believe they have found a bacteria with antimicrobial effects that could solve the hatchery dilemna. “We continued to conduct research on the volatile substances of these bacteria to find out how they combat pathogens so effectively. We’ve now assessed the efficiency a few of them conducting microbiome analyses of the egg shells,” says Gabriele Berg, head of TU Graz’s Institute for Environmental Biotechnology. Bacteria producing pyrazines were particularly effective; when applied to the egg shells, they eliminated up to 99.6% of germs.

The work was published in a recent issue of Scientific Reports.