At last, a loaf of bread that will stay fresh for two months
Bread can be kept fresh for up to 60 days by "zapping" it in a special microwave, say American researchers.
In a discovery that could end one of life's everyday irritations, the technology is designed to kill off spores that cause mould.
It could lead to a revolution in shopping habits as the family loaf stays edible for up to two months.
A third of loaves purchased are thrown out as waste when they could be eaten, according to government figures – far more than any other food type.
The microwave designed by MicroZap, a private company founded by academics at Texas Tech University, was first intended to get rid of salmonella and MRSA.
However, when researchers tested it on bread they discovered that they were able to keep it fresh far beyond the 10-day period in which mould would normally set in.
"We tried a slice of bread and then checked the mould after 60 days and it had the same level of mould that it did when it came straight out of the oven," said Don Stull, the company's chief executive.
They soon found that they were also able to extend the shelf life of turkey, peppers and fresh fruit by applying microwave frequencies evenly across the food, unlike a traditional microwave that leaves some spots warmer than others.
However, the technology is not quite ready for the home kitchen: the microwave is currently about the length of a small car.
Mr Stull acknowledged that some consumers might be wary of bread that lasts so long.
"Most people do it by feel and if you still have that quality feel they probably will accept it," he said. (©Daily Telegraph London)