COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - Texas A&M AgriLife Research just announced a grant to their National Center for Electron Beam Research from the EPA to look into practical uses of eBeam technology to address environmental issues. It turns out that this technology can be used to solve a variety of problems. Suresh Pillai is Director of the National Center for Electron Beam Research at Texas A&M.
“The cool part of the technology here is that we use equipment like a linear accelerator. We take the electrons out of electricity, we accelerate it to the speed of light. So fast that if you sat on one of those electrons you can go in between New York and Los Angeles thirty-seven times in a second. And it packs a lot of energy. And those electrons, once they come out of the linear accelerator can be used for a variety of applications, food safety, food security, environmental remediation, water purification, the applications are endless.”
Pillai explained that an eBeam isn’t what most people imagine it is.
“The electrons when they’re energized can go in and destroy the microbial pathogens in the food without necessarily destroying the flavor or the texture of the food. That’s the unique part. It’s not a heat based process. It’s non-thermal, so you could really sterilize a block of ice if you wanted to. It’s the most effective technology compared to any chemicals or any other technology out there. There are no chemicals involved. It is the most organic of all processes because you are using electrons that we are all made up of.”
Pillai says this technology can also be used to sterilize medical devices used in joint replacements, sutures, and wound dressings, remediation of soil, and for controlling microbial pathogens in animal feeds.
“In terms of technology I see a tremendous improvement in availability of the technology, the price points coming down and also the ease of access to the technology is going to improve. In terms of consumer acceptance, I’m confident that you’re going to see more and more products out there, not only just food, but a variety of consumer products treated with this technology out in the marketplace.”