Archive for the ‘Cleaning & Disinfecting’ Category

Defining the ideal disinfectant against microorganisms and the development to create this superior environmental friendly disinfectant.

September 15, 2013

General

An ideal disinfectant should posses high bactericidal activity, long shelf life, be ready for use without any preliminary activation and utilized after use without negative effect to the environment. Long storing of stable chemicals is available, but their utilization requires equivalent activation by another agent or energy. Therefore, combination of stability and easy utilization is impossible.

In order to exclude the preliminary activation stage before usage of a liquid chemical germicide, it should be noted that all variety of biocidal agents are belong to few classes of chemicals well-known for tens of years.

Appearance of new class of chemicals, which will meet the requirement, is unlikely. Modern tendency in developing new disinfectants is in search for activation means of known disinfectants, and not the creation of new ones. Addition of activators using an extra physical influence, i.e. creating conditions converting active ingredients into metastable state at the moment of disinfection, is one of main directions for the disinfection efficacy improvement.

Interaction disinfectants and microorganisms’ cell membrane.

Due to complexity and multi-functionality of microorganisms’ membrane specific interaction between membrane’s biopolymers and abovementioned chemicals is hardly studied at all.

Cytoplasmic membrane is extremely vitally important structure of any cells including microbes. Organic compounds are part of it and have many reactive groups that cause a high sensitiveness of membrane to damaging factors of different nature. It is known that high concentration of membrane-attacking agents destroy biopolymers of membrane, resulting in damaging lysis of microbe’s cell. The same chemicals in small doses affect membrane functions – change osmotic pressure, permeability, transport processes of molecules and ions through membrane, inhibit metabolic processes, bio-oxidation and cell divisions.

Cationic surfactants (quarternary ammonium compounds) are concentrated at membrane and bind with phosphatidic groups of its lipids; anionic surfactants such as alkaline detergents, alkyl- and arylsulfones, iodophors react with membrane lipids. Phenols and alcohols dissolve lipid’s fragments of membrane.

After disinfection treatment is completed, the moist surfaces get dry, so organic compounds are concentrated in a volume of porous material and turn into superfine and invisible to the eye film. Then it evaporates by sublimation with less intensity than under evaporation during wet treatment. Formed aerosol frequently has no smell that creates illusions of its harmlessness. One should take into account that in accordance with known physical laws each liter of the air in the room contains about some milliards of molecules of matter vaporized with natural course or due to sublimation even if its concentration could be hardly measured and does not exceed hundreds or thousands parts from maximum permissible concentration (MPC). During breathing as well as through the skin and mucous membrane such molecules penetrate to human organism (patients or medical staff) and each one of it keeps realizing its main function – suppression of vital function of cells, but this time in a human body. Stability of liquid chemical germicides creates their accumulation in organism followed by migration through digestive cycle.

Colonies of microorganisms form resistance to dry inefficient disinfectant and start using it as a nutrient medium. Processes as described above have recently become an object of attention; so it is in a stage of study now.

It is quite evident that the development of new liquid chemical germicides which allow bacteria to develop resistance in a short period of time, creates conditions for improvement of mutability mechanism of pathogens and initiates appearance of new isolates of microorganisms.

Today by efficacy of disinfectants is implied its spectrum of biocidal activity. Efficacy also relates to exposure time required for disinfection. However, taking a broad view on the subject we should say that disinfectant is effective only in the case it has a broad spectrum of biocidal activity and does not stimulate microorganism’s adaptation during a long-term use. In other words, effective disinfectant must be used for years with certainty that microorganisms could not form adaptation to it for principal reasons.

Mechanism of Antibacterial defence

Let us consider a mechanism of antibacterial defense created by nature and functions in internal environment of life organisms – from unicellular organisms up to human – over million of years and without any fail.

It is proved that leading role in bactericidal effect of neutrophils belongs to hypochlorous acid (HOCL) made by phagocytes. Under respiratory burst about 28% of oxygen used by neutrophils is spent for formation of HOCL. HOCL is generated from hydrogen peroxide and chloride-ions in neutrophils. Catalyst of this reaction is myeloperoxidase (MPO):

H2O2 + Cl [Cat (МPО)] HOCL + OH [9, 10].

Hypochlorous acid dissociates in aqueous media with formation of hypochlorite-anion and hydrogen-ion:

HOCL ClO + Н+.

Concentrations of HOCL and hypochlorite-anions ClO are almost equal at neutral pH. A decrease in pH shifts reaction balance towards to HOCL, and an increase of pH raises concentration of hypochlorite-anions.

A formation of H2O2 and HOCL in a short time (fractions of a second) in a little volume of aqueous media (parts of microliter, in a volume of active zone of phagocytosis) – inevitably must be followed by reactions of spontaneous decomposition and interaction of reaction products with formation of active particles similar to once formed by radiolysis or electrolysis of water.

Spontaneous decomposition of hydrogen peroxide in aqueous media is followed by formation of highly active biocides (in parenthesis appropriate reactions are presented):

HO2 – hydroperoxide-anion (H2O2 + OH HO2 + H2O);

О22 – peroxide-anion (OH + HO2 O22 + H2O);

О2 – superoxide-anion (O22 + H2O2 O2 + OH + OH );

НО2 – hydrogen peroxide radical (НO + H2O2 H2O + HO2);

HO2 – hydrogen super-oxide (O2 + H2O HO2 + OH).

At the same time it is possible the formation of extremely reactive singlet oxygen 1О2 : (ClO + H2O2 1О2 + H2O + Cl ). Participation of molecular oxygen ion-radical О2 in reactions of phagocytosis is determined experimentally. One of the described above could be the way of its formation.

Formation of free radicals СlO, Сl, НО is possible in aqueous media in presence of НСlО and СlO

HOCL + ClO ClO + Cl + НO.

By modern theory of catalytic processes, a formation of interim activated complex with myeloperoxidase as a catalyst seems also to be most possivle. A dissociation of this complex is followed by formation of О , and medium acidification:

HOCL + ClO [HOCL Cat (МПО) ClO ] 2Сl + 2O + Н+

Active hypochlorite radical СlO can participate in reactions of atomic oxygen (O ) and hydroxyl radical (НO ) formation:

СlO + СlO + ОН Сl + 2O + ОН.

Followed by formation of chlorine radicals:

OH + Cl Cl + OH.

Formed radicals and atomic oxygen take part in microbe’s destruction, oxidizing biopolymers, for example, by the following:

RH2 + OH RH + H2O;

RH2 + Cl RH + HCl;

RH2 + O RH + OH .

A metastable mixture of compounds formed during phagocytosis is a very effective mean for microbe’s destruction due to many spontaneous realized possibilities of changing (irreversible damage) of essential functions of microorganism’s biopolymers at a level of electron transmission. Metastable particles with different values of electrochemical potential possess universal spectrum of action, i.e. they are able to damage all large systematic groups of microorganisms (bacteria, mycobacteria, viruses, funguses, spores) and without damaging of human tissues and other multicellular system organisms.

That can be explained by texture and living activities of cells of that living organisms. Cells of multicellular organisms during their life process, for example, in oxygenase’s reactions of cytochrome P-450, during phagocytosis under microbe’s adhesion and cidal action produce a range of highly efficient oxidants. These cells have a strong chemical system of antioxidant protection with preventing a toxic effect of such compounds on vitally important cellular structures. Antioxidant properties of somatic cells are related to a presence of a strong three-layered lipoprotein’s shell that contains diene conjugates (–С=С–) possessing electron-donor properties and sulfhydric groups (SH). Microorganisms do not have strong mechanisms of antioxidant protection due to absence of mentioned chemical groups.

All somatic cells of living organisms are heterotrophs: their trophism depends on availability of nutritive materials in extracellular medium – glucose, amino acids, fatty acids. Though biological well-being of any somatic cell is up to place it keeps in a process of dispensing of trophic functions of all elements of multicellular system (cell is supported by cell).

Trophic functions of multicellular organisms cells are obeyed to interchangeability law. If a trophism of single cell is disturbed, then this disturbance can be corrected by neurotrophic regulation, functions of adjoining cells, reparative processes, nutritive function of blood and so on.

All microbe’s cells are autotrophs, so their nutrition depends on their own activity, in other words if enzymatic processes in microbe’s cell are depressed, it dies since there is no compensatory mechanism. Microbial cell gets all its trophic functions by enzymatic reactions only. An interaction between microbial cells in their habitat is not a compensatory one, that is to say susceptibility of microbe is in its autonomy.

Natural production of HOCL

Investigations carried out in recent decades indicate that all higher multi-cellular organisms including humans synthesize hypochlorous acid and highly-active meta-stable chlorine-oxygen and hydroperoxide compounds (a meta-stable oxidants’ mixture) in special cellular structures to combat microorganisms and foreign substances. Hypochlorous acid dissociates in aqueous medium forming hypochlorite-anion and hydrogen ion: НOСl OCl- + Н+. When рН values are close to neutral, concentrations of НOСl and hypochlorite-anions OCl- are approximately equal. Lower рН leads to shift of this reaction equilibrium towards higher concentration of НOСl; higher — towards higher concentration of hypochlorite-anions. Sodium hypochlorite demonstrates a considerably lower bactericidal ability than hypochlorous acid.

The highest bactericidal effect of oxygen chlorine compounds is observed with рН varying from 7.0 to 7.6, where concentrations of hypochlorite-ions and hypochlorous acid are comparable. This is due to the fact that the above compounds being conjugated acid and base (НOCl + Н2О + Н3О+ + OCl-; OCl- + Н2О + НOСl + ОН-) form in the given range a meta-stable system capable of generating a number of compounds and particles possessing a much higher antimicrobial ability than hypochlorous acid: 1O2 — singlet molecular oxygen; СlO — hypochlorite-radical; Сl• — chlorine-radical (atomic chlorine); О — atomic oxygen; ОН — hydroxyl radical. Catalysts of reactions with chlorine-oxygen compounds are Н+ and ОН- ions present in water also in approximately equal quantity at рН value close to neutral one.

Chemical production of HOCL

A unique ability of hypochlorous acid to form meta-stable, universal in its scope of antimicrobial action oxidant mixture is widely employed in many disinfectant agents based on cyanuric acid salts (Aquatabs, Deochlor, Chlorsept, Presept, Javelion, Chlor-Clean, Sanival and others) making it possible to decrease active chlorine content in disinfectant working solutions at least 10-fold as compared to sodium hypochlorite solutions, antimicrobial activity of the former being higher. Let us take the mechanism of action of Johnson & Johnson’s Presept tablets as an example. The active ingredient is hypochlorous acid formed in the process of sodium dichloroisocyanurate interaction with water at a рН value of 6.2, maintained by adipic acid contained in the tablets.

However, the use of mentioned disinfectant agents based on cyanuric acid salts is unsafe for human and other warm-blooded organisms since it contain a chlorine organic compound, in particular, sodium dichloroisocyanurate, which, unlike inorganic chlorine-oxygen compounds, does not disappear leaving no traces during desiccation, but accumulates in the environment and human body.

The most efficient antimicrobial agents among all generally known liquid sterilizing and disinfectant means, which demonstrate very low toxicity or no toxicity at all for warm-blooded animals, are electrochemically activated solutions, in particular Neutral electrolyzed Water.

Electrochemical activated HOCL

Maximum use of fundamental difference between living organisms of micro- and macro-biological life is an ideological basis of electrochemical activated biocidal liquids.

As physicochemical process electrochemical activation is an electrophysical and electrochemical influence on water that contains ions and molecules of dissolved substances in it. It takes place under conditions of minimal heat release in the area of dimensional charge at the electrode surface (anode or cathode) of electrochemical system at non-equilibrium charge transfer through the interface “electrode – electrolyte” by electrons.

As a result of electrochemical activation water converts into a metastable (activated) condition showing increased reactivity in different physical-chemical processes during some tens hours. Electrochemical activation allows directly change a composition of dissolved gases, acid-base and redox characteristics of water within the bigger scale then under the equivalent chemical regulation. Chemical reagents (oxidants or reducing agents) in metastable condition can be generated from water and dissolved substances. It is used in processes of water purification and disinfection as well as for water or diluted electrolyte solution transformation into ecologically friendly biocidal (disinfecting/sterilizing solution), cleaning, extractive and other functionally useful liquids.

An Electrolytic Flow Cell is used for electrochemical transformation of water and dissolved substances. A distinctive feature of a Flow Cell is in combination of properties of ideal displacement reactor and ideal mixing reactor in one element as well as high technical and economic characteristics at processing of fresh water and low-mineralized liquids.

Very seldom electrochemically activated solutions (Electrolyzed Water or Super-Oxidized Water) is identified with hypochlorous acid. This is due to inadequate awareness and natural tendency to simplify comprehension by classifying electrochemically activated solutions to well-known hypochlorite ones on the basis of their formal resemblance.

Neutral Electrolyzed Water, unlike 0.5-5.0% hypochlorite solutions possessing only disinfectant ability, is a sterilizing solution at oxidant concentration 0.005 to 0.05%.(5-500ppm)

Benefits of Electrochemical activated HOCL

Active ingredients of Electrochemical activated HOCL (Neutral Electrolyzed Water) are chlorine-oxygen compounds НOСl (hypochlorous acid) and OCl- (hypochlorite-ion).

The combination of active these active chlorine-oxygen substances avoid that microorganisms adapt or become resistant to Neutral Electrolyzed Water, while low total concentration of chlorine-oxygen compounds guarantee absolute safety for man and the environment in the process of its long-term application.

In other words, a mixture of metastable chlorine-oxygen compounds eliminates microbes’ ability for adaptation to bactericidal effect of Neutral Electrolyzed Water. Thus, only a small concentration of chlorine-oxygen compounds guarantees for absolute safety for man and environment under long-term use of Electrolyzed Water.

Neutral Electrolyzed Water is considered non-toxic due to low content of active substances HOCL and OCL-, therefore there is no need to remove it from treated surfaces after treatment.

Total content of active chlorine-oxygen compounds in Neutral Electrolyzed Water oxidant content varies from 50 to 500ppm which is many times lower than in most working solutions of disinfectants routinely used today. Neutral Electrolyzed Water causes no coagulation of protein protecting microorganisms and thanks to its loose structure easily penetrates into micro-channels of living and nonliving matter.

Environmentally friendly electrochemically-activated Neutral Electrolyzed Water has “life time” that is necessary for procedure of disinfection. After its use it spontaneously degrades without formation of toxic xenobiotics and does not require any neutralization before discharging to sewerage.

A chemical potential of molecules and ions in Neutral Electrolyzed Water is much higher than in hypochlorite solutions. A low mineralization of Neutral Electrolyzed Water and its hydration ability helps penetration through cell membrane, creates conditions for intensive osmotic and electro-osmotic oxidant’s transfer into intracellular media. The osmotic transfer of oxidants through shells and membranes of microbe’s cells is more intensive than through membranes of somatic cells due to inherent difference in osmotic gradient of these types of cells. Electrically charged cluster structures formed by dissolved gas molecules in water and electron-active components of medium promote high-speed electro-osmotic carry of oxidants into bacterial cell, because this clusters produce strong local electric fields with high heterogeneity in zones of contact with biopolymers.

Neutral Electrolyzed Water kills microorganisms of bacterial, viral and fungous etiology (Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudumonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, hepatitis B virus, poliomyelitis virus, HIV, adenovirus, pathogens of tuberculosis, salmonellosis, dermatomycosis and others). By its efficacy Electrolyzed Water greatly exceeds chloramines, sodium hypochlorite and overwhelming majority of other disinfectants and sterilizing agents.

A sum of active chlorine-oxygen compounds in Neutral Electrolyzed Water (total oxidant content) is within 50 to 500 mg/l, that is many times less than in most solutions of currently used disinfectants. Neutral Electrolyzed Water does not cause coagulation of protein that protects microorganisms and, due to its loosened structure, easily penetrate into pinholes of living and lifeless matter.

Neutral Electrolyzed Water is produced from dilute solution of sodium chloride in drinking water. Total mineralization of initial solution for Neutral Electrolyzed Water is within 0,5 to 5,0 g/l.

Conclusion

To sum up, it can be concluded that the most effective disinfecting liquid in terms of their functional properties and simultaneously very low-toxicity is Neutral Electrolyzed Water (meta-stable low-mineralized chlorine-oxygen antimicrobial solutions), which have no alternative as long as life on Earth is represented by various forms of protein bodies existing in electrolyte of aqueous solutions of mainly sodium and chlorine ions.

ELECTROLYZED WATER FOR HARD SURFACE MEDICAL SANITATION

September 8, 2013

I           INTRODUCTION

There is an epidemic of healthcare acquired infections within hospitals, out-patient surgical centers, nursing homes and medical clinics. The number of hospital acquired infections alone is staggering. About 1 in every 15 patients get an infection while hospitalized and up to 98,000 Americans die from these infections each year. That makes infections the most common complication in hospital care and one of the nation’s top 10 causes of death. In California, an estimated 200,000 patients develop hospital infections each year, resulting in 12,000 deaths.

The problem is much larger than official statisitcs because the numbers fail to account for millions of patients treated in outpatient surgery centers, community clinics, nursing homes and other care facilities.

About six and one half percent of patients admitted to US hospitals—nearly 5,500 daily, or two million annually—get sick from a hospital-acquired infection. This adds 19 days of hospitalization and $43,000 in costs totaling more than $45 billion a year to U.S. medical bills

Under the new Affordable Healthcare Law consumers will be able to learn hospital infection rates. Hospital Infection rate information will be posted on a Department Health and Human Services website called Hospital Compare. This new reporting requirements applies to hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs which are virtually every hospital in the country. Beginning in October 2012, Medicare payments to hospitals will be tied to how well they protect patients from these infections. Hospitals with infection rates exceeding national averages will lose 1 percent of their Medicare funding, starting in 2015. This is a huge dollar amount considering the federal government spent $563 billion last year on 49 million recipients and Medicare spending is expected to grow to $970 billion by 2021.

II        MARKET

Hospital Cleaning is the removal of all dust, oil, and organic materials such as blood, secretions, excretions and microorganisms. Cleaning reduces or eliminates the populations of potential pathogenic organisms. It is accomplished with water, detergents and mechanical action. Hospital Disinfection is the inactivation of disease producing organisms. Disinfection does not destroy high levels of bacterial spores. Disinfectants are used on inanimate objects. Disinfection usually involves chemicals, heat or ultraviolet light. Levels of chemical disinfection vary with the type of product used.

 There are three types of cleaning and disinfection markets within hospitals and healthcare facilities. These are critical, semi-critical and non-critical.

A.        Critical Applications

Medical devices and items that represent a high risk for infection if they are contaminated with any microorganism. Objects that enter sterile tissue or the vascular system must be sterile because any microbial contamination could transmit disease. Critical cleaning and disinfection includes surgical instruments, cardiac and urinary catheters, implants, and ultrasound probes used in sterile body cavities. These items are to be sterilized with steam if possible. Heat-sensitive objects can be treated with EtO, hydrogen peroxide gas plasma; or if other methods are unsuitable, by liquid chemical sterilants.

B.         Semi-Critical Application

Devices to include vaginal-rectal ultrasound probes, endoscopes, laryngoscope blades, cystoscopes, esophageal manometry probes, anorectal manometry catheters, respiratory/anesthesia equipment, all GI scopes, transesophageal echocardiogram probes and rhinoscopes. Medical devices and equipment that contact mucous membranes or non-intact skin minimally require high-level disinfection.

C.        Non-Critical Applications

Devices are those that come in contact with intact skin but not mucous membranes.  Intact skin acts as an effective barrier to most microorganisms; therefore, the sterility of items coming in contact with intact skin is “not critical.”  Non-critical items are divided into non-critical patient care items and non-critical environmental surfaces.  Non-critical patient-care items are bedpans, blood pressure cuffs, crutches and computers.

III        TERMINAL ROOM CLEANING

 A segment within the non-critical environmental surfaces market is Terminal Room Cleaning. Terminal Room Cleaning means a thorough cleaning of a patient room after being discharged. The concept is to eliminate the residual bacteria left in a “contaminated room” whether it is a hospital room, OR room, ER room, nursing home room or any room in which another patient can potentially come into contact. The potential market of Terminal Room Cleaning is huge. For example, there are 35,000,000 patient “discharges” per year in more than 7000 hospitals and 15,000 outpatient surgery centers.

Transmission of many healthcare acquired infections are related to contamination of patient surfaces, in-room equipment, high touch surfaces with patient rooms.

Patients shed microorganisms into their environment by coughing, sneezing or having diarrhea. Bacteria and viruses can survive for weeks or months on dry surfaces in a patient environment. When another patient, doctor, nurse or visitor, touches that surface the microorganisms are transmitted throughout the hospital. The following are example of “at-risk” patient environments.

  1. Acute Care, the patient environment is the area inside the curtain, including all items and equipment used in his/her care, as well as the bathroom that the patient uses.
  2. Intensive Care Units (ICUs), the patient environment is the room or bed space and items and equipment inside the room or bed space.
  3. Nursery/Neonatal setting, the patient environment is the bassinet and equipment outside the bassinet that is used for the infant.
  4. Ambulatory Care, the patient environment is the immediate vicinity of the examination or treatment table or chair and waiting areas.
  5. Long-term care, the resident environment includes their individual environment (e.g., bed space, bathroom) and personal mobility devices (e.g., wheelchair, walker).

Terminal Room cleaning is performed by the Environmental Services Staff. The cleaning includes emptying trash and removing any loose items, changing bed linen, wiping the mattress with a disinfectant, washing walls with detergent, cleaning bathroom sink and toilet with a disinfectant, wiping all bed rails, tables, light switches, door handles, telephone, call buttons, privacy curtain and other “high touch” items with a disinfectant then mop the floor with a detergent cleaner and disinfectant. Once the Environmental Staff completes the terminal room cleaning, the Environmental Service Supervisor inspects the room. The Supervisor will look for any visible dirt, blood, secretions, etc. They will also use a bio-luminescence meter to measure bacterial contamination. If the Environmental Service Supervisor rejects a room, the entire room is re-clean and disinfected.

IV        ELECTROLYZED WATER OPPORTUNTY

In the US the average time from patient discharge to another patient occupying the same room is 27 minutes. The work required (as noted above) by the Environmental Service Staff to terminally clean the discharged patient room in the 27-minute timeframe is almost impossible. This creates extreme pressure and stress on the Environmental Service Staff resulting in poor cleaning and very high job turnover. Other factors contributing to poor cleaning and high turnover is the use of toxic and corrosive detergents and disinfectants. To improve cleaning performance, stronger and more toxic chemicals are required. However, these chemicals slow down cleaning time. The Staff must be more careful in handling these chemicals, adding a rinse step and allow time for the room to dry and “air out”.

Using stronger and more toxic cleaning and disinfecting chemicals does not always provide the level of disinfecting required by hospital guidelines. The over prescribed use of antibiotics have created “super-bugs”. These “super-bugs” can develop a resistance to disinfectants. There are sixteen hospital identified “super-bugs”. A few of these are MRSA (methicillan resistant staphylococcus aureaus), C. diff (clostridium difficle), VRE (vancomycin resistant enterococci) and acinetobactor baumannii.

To reduce the human factor in terminal room cleaning and eliminate the chemical resistance of “super-bugs” new technologies have been developed and are currently marketed. One new technology is called VHP (vaporize hydrogen peroxide). VHP meets and exceeds hospital guidelines for environmental surface disinfection.  The guideline for hospital cleaning was developed by HICPAC (Hospital Infection Control Procedures Advisory Committee). This committee is Infection Control doctors and researchers within the medical community specializing in Non-Critical Environmental surface disinfection. The level of surface disinfection for terminal room cleaning is called 6-log reduction. 6-log cleanliness is basically a sterile surface. VHP provides 6-log surface cleanliness but requires 4 hours to clean, disinfect and “air out” the room. In addition the Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide equipment cost more than $200,000 and requires a company representative located full-time at the hospital to operate the equipment.

Another new technology for terminal room cleaning is UV-C light. UV light has been used for surface disinfection for many years. Used properly UV-C can provide a 6-log level of disinfection. However, UV-C is difficult to use because the light must be directed at an exact angle to the surface, the light requires a long contact time and the light must be checked regularly to insure the proper wavelength. A properly cleaned and disinfected room using UV-C equipment takes more than 90 minutes.

These technologies and others meet the HICPAC cleaning guidelines for terminal room cleaning but they do not come close to the time requirements for most hospitals. Electrolyzed Water is the only new technology that can provide 6-log disinfection within the 27-minute time requirement. In addition electrolyzed water is non-toxic, requires no chemical storage, mixing, dries faster and does not require Staff to wear protective clothing. Electrolyzed water can eliminate the pressure and stress of the Environmental Service Staff reducing turnover. It has no odor or chemical residue that can cause patient sensitivities.

After years of working in hospitals with Environmental Service and Infection Control Professionals, the most important cleaning solution proved to be electrolyzed alkaline water. Alkaline water’s cleaning performance is due to its alkalinity and very negative ORP (oxidation-reduction potential). The more negative the solution the greater cleaning power and faster drying properties. Electrolyzed Alkaline Water’s negative ORP has a very short shelf life. It is usually less than 1 hour in an open container exposed to air.  The key for electrolyzed water technology’s acceptance in hospitals is making the Environmental Service Staff job easier, safer and less pressure. As a result, electrolyzed water must be a direct replacement to detergents and work in their cleaning process. For example, the Environmental Service Staff at the start of their shift fill an open container with a detergent solution and add 8 to 10 micro-fiber mop heads. One mop head per room is used to mop walls and floors. As the staff changes mop heads and agitates the solution, the ORP of ordinary electrolyzed alkaline water is quickly lost. However, a patent-pending product enhancement (enhanced alkaline water) preserves the negative ORP and actually continues the electrolysis process maintaining the alkaline water above pH11. The product will keep the alkaline water’s pH and ORP for at least 1 day. Enhanced alkaline water can be used into the mop head containers, spray bottles or other applicators. The product will maintain negative ORP with the addition of dyes, surfactants or other cleaning aids.

Once surfaces are cleaned with alkaline water, the surface has a negative charge. At this point, the electrolyzed acidic water disinfectant can be applied with an electrostatic spray device. This device will put a 5 to 10 mil coating on every surface within the room. Electrostatic sprayers can reach every side of a surface even if the sprayer is not pointed directly at the surface. Electrostatic spraying of a patient room takes less than 3 minutes. This technique enables the Environmental Surface Staff to take more time cleaning with the alkaline water and still finish under the 27-minute time requirement.

Electrolyzed Water technology and application equipment can reduce a hospital’s overall chemical costs, cut Environmental Service labor requirements and reduce the hospital liability insurance premiums. This is proven technology that has been used in Japanese hospitals for more than 20 years. In Japan electrolyzed water technology has reduce healthcare acquired infections to less than 2%.

For more information, please contact info@aquaox.net

How bleach kills germs

August 27, 2013

Bleach has been killing germs for more than 200 years but it was only since 2008 that U.S. scientists figured out how the cleaner does its dirty work.

It seems that hypochlorous acid, the active ingredient in bleach, attacks proteins in bacteria, causing them to clump up much like an egg that has been boiled, a team at the University of Michigan reported in the journal Cell on Thursday.

The discovery, which may better explain how humans fight off infections, came quite by accident.

“As so often happens in science, we did not set out to address this question,” Ursula Jakob, who led the team, said in a statement.

The researchers had been studying a bacterial protein called heat shock protein 33, which is a kind of molecular chaperon that becomes active when cells are in distress, for example from the high temperature of a fever.

In this case, the source of the distress was hypochlorous acid or hypochlorite.

Jakob’s team figured out that bleach and high temperatures have very similar effects on proteins.

When they exposed the bacteria to bleach, the heat shock protein became active in an attempt to protect other proteins in the bacteria from losing their chemical structure, forming clumps that would eventually die off.

“Many of the proteins that hypochlorite attacks are essential for bacterial growth, so inactivating those proteins likely kills the bacteria,” Marianne Ilbert, a postdoctoral fellow in Jakob’s lab, said in a statement.

The researchers said the human immune system produces hypochlorous acid in response to infection but the substance does not kill only the bacterial invaders. It kills human cells too, which may explain how tissue is destroyed in chronic inflammation.

“Hypochlorous acid is an important part of host defense,” Jakob said. “It’s not just something we use on our countertops.”

This post has been posted in 2008. Mentioned Journal article available upon request.

Onsite Generation Of Environmentally Friendly CIP Cleaners And Sanitizers

July 28, 2013

Clean-in-place (CIP) is an important part of many food and beverage processes. The need for thorough cleaning and safe production is paramount, but efficiency is also important to ensure operational costs are minimized and plant run time maximized. In today’s markets, there is an increasing need for more frequent product changeover to meet changing and varied consumer demands. This presents increased production challenges and the time to changeover between products becomes an important criterion for operational efficiency.

Situation

An international beverage company faced the challenge of producing an increasing number of difficult-to-clean products (pungent flavors, solid material and increased spoilage potential) at its bottling plants. This was combined with an increasing need to run smaller production runs, requiring more frequent product changeovers which had a significant negative impact on available production time. A keen social ethic to provide sustainable production along with drivers for flexible production and reduced costs led the business to review its CIP processes.

Challenge

The increased use of more pungent product lines with different flavors and additives across the customer’s sites made equipment more difficult to clean from an organoleptic and microbiological standpoint. Frequent product changes meant a solution was required that would improve the process efficacy, lead to better operational efficiency as well as reduce environmental impact — save energy and water, reduce potentially harmful waste streams and improve conditions and safety for plant personnel.

Solution

Electrolyzed cleaning and sanitizing fluids have been shown to maintain or improve cleaning and sanitizing effectiveness within the CIP process. The first step in this project was to go through a rigorous validation process, including microbiological and organoleptic testing, with the customer to prove it safe and effective.

The technology produces a cleaning and/or sanitizing agent through the electrolysis of a solution of sodium chloride or sodium carbonate. The system produces Hypochlorous acid (HOCl), a weak acid but powerful and natural sanitizer also produced by the human body to fight infection. HOCl sanitizes rapidly without the need for heating and, as it is produced from readily available natural materials, offers a highly sustainable sanitation and cleaning solution. The technology uniquely generates fluids at the required concentration with no mixing or dilution required. Without the need to add dilution water, Electrolyzed Water provides superior cleaning and sanitizing as every drop of the solution has been electrolyzed.

Superior cleaning and sanitizing without the need for heating offers reduced cleaning times and increased plant running times. For the beverage company, this is especially critical during seasonal production peaks where maximizing production times is critical to the business. Electrolyzed Water delivers drastically reduced bottle-to-bottle downtime for a traditional full CIP cycle. Typically the time savings is over 50 percent and in many cases, this saves hours per CIP. For product changeover CIP processes, the typical time for Electrolyzed Water is 15 minutes or less — a significant savings compared with the previous technology which took around one hour. This supports the beverage company’s ‘just in time’ production approach, which requires smaller batch runs and more frequent product changeovers.

Continuous production of Electrolyzed Water in large volumes meet the needs of the company’s large facilities. Current systems are fully automated and operators only need to check the salt levels within the system on a weekly basis. Important parameters including fluid concentration are continually monitored and alarms if they fall below acceptable values, shutting down the system to ensure that the Electrolyzed Water produced is within specifications without requiring monitoring by the plant personnel.

Traditional CIP technology uses concentrated chemicals shipped to site which are often applied at elevated temperatures.  Electrolyzed Water is produced on site in volumes to match site demands at any particular time, eliminating waste production and reducing water consumption. Cleaning and sanitizing at ambient temperature reduces the energy consumed for the process and, using just salt and water to create the fluids, both the cleaner and sanitizer are inherently safe and produce a safer, easy-to-handle waste water stream.

For this large beverage company, HOCl has proven to offer superior cleaning and microbiological performance with annual savings of between $50,000 and $120,000 in chemical costs along with an associated $20-50,000 saving in costs for wastewater treatment. The reduced changeover time between products equates to savings between $100,000 and $1 million, depending on the plant production schedule and value assigned to increased plant production line availability.

The on-demand production of cleaning/sanitizing fluid to match the plant’s needs and the improvements in the cleaning process reduce water consumption related to the cleaning and sanitizing processes by an estimated 20-40 percent per year. The use of ambient solutions further reduces maintenance costs associated with the thermal stresses from hot CIP processes. Electrolyzed Water minimizes the impact on the environment with a reduced carbon footprint, reduced water usage and a safe, sustainable production methodology.

Electrolyzed Water systems have delivered significant improvements to plant working conditions. The automation of the system provides a much simpler CIP process. The inherent safety of the fluids, coupled with the ambient temperature application also significantly reduces risks to safety of personnel, who no longer need to be concerned about chemical vapors, risk of caustic burns or hot machinery surfaces during CIP cycles. The value of personnel safety is sometimes difficult to evaluate in monetary terms but is surely one of the most important benefits of the system.

Electrolyzed Water eradicates hospital water bugs

June 28, 2013

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) have developed a new system that eradicates bacterial contamination in hospital water tanks, distribution systems and taps.

They say the new system is highly effective and inexpensive, and could be used throughout the hospital service.

Water contamination was linked to the deaths recently of three babies in a Belfast maternity hospital from pseudomonas infection.

According to the researchers funded by the the Health Research Board and Dublin Dental University Hospital, hospital wash basin taps and output water are reservoirs of bacteria that can lead to serious consequences for patients.

Prof David Coleman of TCD, principal investigator with the project, said hospital water systems and washbasin taps are frequently contaminated with biofilm containing bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

He said at the start of the study, the team measured the amount of bacteria in hot and cold water from the Dental Hospital’s clinic washbasin taps. The predominant bacteria identified were pseudomonas and related species.

The researchers cleaned and disinfected the water system at the hospital and then developed and installed a novel automated water disinfectant system to eradicate miocrobioal contamination on an ongoing basis.

The new system involved treating the water with Hypochlorous Acid (HOCL), an environmentally-friendly disinfectant. Electronic probes constantly monitor the levels of disinfectant in the water and adjust the levels via automated pumps when contamination is found.

The disinfectant is generated by electrochemical activation of a dilute solution using an onsite generator.

Following monitoring over 54 weeks, it was was found that the system virtually eliminated bacteria from taps.

The researchers said their results showed that by systematically destroying bacteria in a hospital’s water distribution network and in the in the supply water, they have devised a consistently effective and safe means of ensuring that hospital water and washbasin taps are no longer reservoirs of contamination that can lead to patient infection.

The HRB/TCD researchers claim their system costs much less than current less efficient water treatment systems and their technology could be adopted in the health service to improve patient safety and reduce running costs.

They have stressed that their new disinfectant system is not harmful for human contact. They are planning to assess the effectiveness of the new system further in a larger hospital as part of their project.

The research is published in the Journal of Hospital Infection.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: ‘JUST ADD ELECTRICITY’

June 22, 2011

JUNE 8, 2011, 2:06 P.M. ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK — It sounds like a late-night infomercial: Kill germs and clean surfaces with nothing more than water and a few volts of electricity! Pay pennies a gallon! Strong enough to kill germs but gentle on your skin! The use of electricity and water to clean and disinfect has been embraced by some food and hospitality businesses looking to save money and go green by swapping out conventional products.
At busy Whole Foods on Manhattan’s Union Square, workers keep battery-operated spray bottles designed to keep surfaces clean with water packing an electrical charge. Also available are electrolyzed oxidizing water products, or EO water, which are cleaning systems that use salt and electricity to create solutions for cleaning kitchens, prison floors and hotel rooms.  No, these are not miracle elixirs.

While users of the two different types of systems say they save money, start-up costs are far higher than simply buying a bottle of bleach. They’re not suitable for every cleaning job, and different zapped water treatments can lose potency over time. Critics say some of the claims for electrolyzed water in particular — it’s touted as everything from a health drink to a skin treatment — are overblown. Still, studies have shown water exposed to a charge works as a cleaner.
“We use it everywhere,” said Mary Ann Flynn, appearance manager for the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. The school uses EO water. “They fill mop buckets with it. They fill bottles so that the students and the chefs use it in the kitchen.”
The electrolyzed water systems vary, but a common type creates separate streams of disinfectant and cleaner by
running a charge through water exposed to salt. The disinfectant stream mainly contains hypochlorous acid, a form of chlorine. Viking Pure, one of several makers active in the United States, claims its sanitizing solution is effective against a long list of pathogens ranging from listeria to swine flu virus. A big selling point of the machines it sells is that users make the cleaner on the spot so they don’t have to transport chemicals. Viking Pure’s president, Walter Warning, said the “acid water” is so gentle you can spray it on your skin. The same salt-and-electricity process also creates a separate stream of sodium hydroxide, a common ingredient in cleaners. This “alkaline” stream can be used as a general purpose cleaner and degreaser.

Deborah Stone, housekeeping manager for Carolina Designs rental agency at North Carolina’s Outer Banks, swears by it and said some of the biggest problems are convincing workers they can clean without suds. “It’s very difficult for the cleaners to comprehend that because there is no smell and because there are no bubbles, they don’t get the sense that they’re actually cleaning,” Stone said. “You still have those die-hard people that want the suds and the pretty smell.”
Academic researchers have found that electrolyzed systems can be effective cleaners and disinfectants when the process is done correctly.

Professor Ali Demirci of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Pennsylvania State University has researched the use of EO water to decontaminate various food products and clean dairy equipment. He has found it works well for both cleaning equipment surfaces and killing bacteria. Professor Yen-Con Hung of the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of Georgia has studied electrolyzed water for years and said it can be more effective than bleach in many cases. Researchers note that EO water performs best on smooth surfaces. Bassam Annous, a research microbiologist for the federal Agricultural Research Service, has found it does not work well ridding lettuce and apples of E. coli because the water-based solution cannot penetrate the minute crevices where the bacteria can lurk. “This is not a silver bullet,” Hung said. “EO water is not perfect.”

Bob Brown, who is in charge of food safety support for Whole Foods, said that a number of stores in the
mid-Atlantic and Midwest are starting to use the sprayers for cleaning glass and other surfaces, like conveyor
belts. “It’s better for the environment if you’re not using chemicals,” Brown said. “So it’s a green technology that’s
available.” How green? That’s hard to quantify precisely.

In the case of the electric spray bottles, there are no chemicals. Both the spray bottles and the EO water require
electricity, though not much. Activeion’s spray bottle runs on a rechargeable 12-volt battery. Bob Schildgen, aka Mr. Green, the environmental advice columnist at Sierra Club, said comparing a chemical-based cleaner to an electricity-based one is apples to oranges.  “It’s extraordinarily difficult to compare such different processes and come to a firm conclusion on it,” he said.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press

How to Make Sanitization of Food Related Areas

April 10, 2010

Posted by: admin In: Food Safety and Hygiene

Cleaning

Cleaning is a prerequisite for effective sanitation. Cleaning is the removal of organic matter, using appropriate detergent chemicals under recommended conditions. Organic matter from food residues such as oils, grease and protein not only harbors bacteria but can actually prevent sanitizers from coming into physical contact with the surface to be sanitized. In addition, the presence of organic matter can inactivate or reduce the effectiveness of some types of sanitizers, making sanitization ineffective.

In order for cleaning to be performed properly, the right cleaning agents must be selected for the job. Cleaning agents commonly used include the following:

• Detergents contain surfactants to reduce surface tension between food soil and the surface so the detergent can penetrate quickly and lift off the soil from the surface.

• Solvent cleaners contain a grease-dissolving agent that can be used in areas with burned-on grease.

• Acid cleaners are used on mineral deposits that alkaline detergents cannot remove.

• Abrasive cleaners are used to remove heavy accumulations of soil often found in small areas. The abrasive action is provided by small mineral or metal particles, such as fine steel wool, copper or even nylon.

sanitation

Sanitizing

Sanitization follows cleaning. Sanitization is the application of heat or chemicals to a properly cleaned (and thoroughly rinsed) food-contact surface, yielding a 99.999% reduction of representative pathogenic microorganisms of public health importance. Sanitization is not sterilization. Sterilization is the process of destroying all living microorganisms, not just pathogens. Other terms (and their definitions) that are sometimes confused with sanitization and that should be noted are the following:

Antiseptic—used against sepsis or putrefaction in humans or animals.

Disinfectant/Germicide—applied to inanimate objects to destroy all vegetave cells, not spores.

Bactericide—kills a specific group of microorganisms.

Bactericidal—prevents the growth of a specific group of microorganisms but does not necessarily kill them.

The two sanitation methods commonly used in retail/food service establishments are heat and chemicals. Their application standards, as defined in the 2009 Food Code, are as follows:

Heat. In dish-machines, the temperature of the fresh hot-water sanitizing rinse as it enters the manifold cannot be more than 194 °F (90 °C), less than 165 °F (74 °C) in a stationary rack, single-temperature machine or less than 180 °F (82 °C) in all other high-temperature dish-machines. In three-compartment sinks, the water temperature must be at least 171 °F (77 °C).

Chemicals. Chemicals approved as sanitizers for food-contact surfaces in retail/foodservice establishments are chlorine, iodine and quaternary ammonium.

Factors that influence the efficacy of chemical sanitizers include the following:

Concentration. Too little will result in an inadequate reduction of microorganisms; too much can be toxic, corrosive to equipment and can lead to less cleanability over time.

Temperature. Sanitizers generally work best between 55 °F (13 °C) and 120 °F (49 °C).

Contact time. To kill microorganisms, cleaned items must be in contact with the sanitizer for the manufacturer-recommended time.

The presence and nature of the organic and/or inorganic in-activators on the surface. Some of these are present in detergent residue or soil from an improperly cleaned surface and might react with sanitizers. Thus, it is important to properly clean and rinse prior to sanitization.

The nature of the material surface. Sanitizers react differently with plastic, glass, metal and wood.

The surface area, topography and geometry of the surface. A rough surface will be more difficult to sanitize than will a smooth surface.

The nature and species of any residual microorganisms on the surface. Microbial load can affect sanitizer
activity.

Type of microorganisms present. Spores are more resistant than vegetative cells. Gram-positive bacteria are known to respond differently from Gram-negative bacteria when exposed to sanitizers. Sanitizers also vary in their effectiveness against yeasts, molds, fungi and viruses.

Also, testing devices must be used to measure the concentration of chemical sanitizing solutions because the use of chemical sanitizers requires minimum concentrations of the sanitizer during the final rinse step to ensure sanitization and too much sanitizer in the final rinse water could be toxic. To accurately test the strength of a sanitizing solution, one must first determine which chemical is being used—chlorine, iodine or quaternary ammonium. The appropriate test kit must then be used to measure concentration.

Chemical sanitizers are registered for use on food-contact surfaces through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Prior to approval and registration, the EPA reviews efficacy and safety data as well as product labeling information. At present, the effectiveness of chemical sanitizers used in retail/food-service establishments is determined using one of two methods: the AOAC Germicidal and Detergent Sanitizers Method against Escherichia coli ATCC 11229 for quaternary ammonium compounds, chlorinated trisodium phosphate and anionic detergent-acid formulations or  the AOAC Available Chlorine Germicidal Equivalent Concentration Test against Salmonella typhi ATCC 6539 for iodophors, mixed halides and chlorine-bearing chemicals. The FDA is involved in evaluating residues from sanitizer use that might enter the food supply. Thus, a sanitizing agent and its maximum usage level for direct use on food-contact surfaces must be approved by the FDA.

Public concern about the environmental impact of chemicals has lead to the development of other sanitization methods that have potential for use in retail/foodservice establishments.

Ozone. The ozone molecule (O3) is an antibacterial agent that is very effective at oxidizing and destroying organic and other compounds on equipment and surfaces. As of June 2001, ozone was approved by the FDA as an additive to kill foodborne pathogens. Because it is a gas, ozone leaves no toxic residues on treated surfaces. However, it could be corrosive to various surfaces at high concentrations, and care must be exercised during its generation because overexposure can result in bodily injury.

Peracetic acid (PAA). An organic acid, PAA is produced by the reaction of acetic acid with hydrogen peroxide. In the retail/foodservice industry, it is being promoted as a potential chlorine replacement that can be used at a concentration of 150 to 200 ppm on food-contact surfaces. At this concentration, it is capable of killing microorganisms in addition to removing deposits of milk stone and hard-water scales, suppressing odors and stripping biofilms from food-contact surfaces. PAA is not very effective against bacterial spores, and it may be more expensive when compared with other sanitizers.

Electrolyzed water. Electrolyzed water is a good sanitization method** because it has antimicrobial properties, is not corrosive to skin, mucous membranes or organic material, is safe to handle and has little adverse effect on the environment. Electrolyzed water shows effectiveness against a wide range of microorganisms. It can be produced easily using common salt and an apparatus connected to a power source. Because the size of the machine is quite small, electrolyzed water can be manufactured on site. Although its cost is low, electrolyzed water can be corrosive to certain metal surfaces***.

While heat and chemicals are currently the most commonly used sanitization methods, other new methods—such as ozone, PAA and electrolyzed water—show great promise for use in the retail/foodservice environment. The bottom line is “Don’t compromise—clean and sanitize.”

** No reference is made to the fact that when Neutral Electrolyzed Water is produced onsite, simultaniously Alkaline Water is produced. Alkaline Water has a pH of 11.5 to 12.5 and it’s active ingredient NaOH (Sodium Hydroxide) is a very powerfull cleaner and degreaser. Aquaox Systems produce approximately 20% NaOH and approximately 80% HOCL measured in volume.

*** Neutral Electrolyzed Water with it’s active ingredient HOCL (Hypochlorous Acid) has a pH of 6.2. to 6.8 and is therefore not corrosive. Neutral Electrolyzed Water is produced onsite by stand-alone fully automated remotely controlled Aquaox Systems. For more information on Aquaox Systems, visit http://www.aquaox.net/Systems.html

DOSING OF SANITIZER SOLUTIONS

March 25, 2010

Accurate dosing is a prerequisite for efficient and cost-effective sanitation. The equipment and procedures which are used to deliver sanitizer solutions vary and depend on the specific application for which they were intended and the industry being serviced.

a. FOOD PLANTS

In large food processing plants, daily clean-up necessitates sanitation of all food contact surfaces. Measured quantities of sanitizer are generally transferred from the drum into a large (500 to 1000 liters) dedicated tote, using a calibrated metering pump. The required volume of water is then added to a predetermined level to make up the end-use solution. The amount of sanitizer which the pump is capable of delivering is based on the volume displaced by each stroke of the pump and the time period that the pump is in actual operation. The volume of each stroke can be adjusted and fine tuned rendering the system capable of dosing accurate and consistent concentrations of sanitizer. More sophisticated equipment (and more expensive) use wall mounted pumps which are electronically connected to water flow meters. As water flows into the dispensing tote, it triggers the pump to operate on an intermittent basis to deliver calibrated quantities of sanitizer, with each transfer to the tote of a predetermined volume of water. This intermittent cycle of dosing provides for a more uniform mixing of sanitizer with water. To insure complete dispersion of sanitizer in solution, large storage tanks also have auxiliary pumps and the capability of recirculating the solution for several minutes.

Since effective sanitization in food processing plants is a crucial step in the over all clean up procedure, the crew leader will usually sample the diluted sanitizer solution using either a test kit or test paper. Once adjustments and verifications, if required are made, the sanitizer solution is applied under low pressure onto the food contact surfaces and the excess is allowed to freely run off. Low pressure applications are preferable since they reduce the risk of generating airborne mists which can cause dislodge bacteria to become airborne and transported over great distances. Following sanitization, a potable water rinse is not required nor is it recommended. Flat horizontal or vertical surfaces can either be air dried or allowed to remain wet. The later method is the preferable one and used more frequently. Leaving the surface wet prevents airborne bacteria which may settle on food processing equipment and tables from surviving therefore decreases the risk of contamination.At start-up of operations during the following shift, the remaining residual sanitizer can be rinsed off prior to handling food products. This is not a mandatory or regulatory requirement since sanitizers used in food processing plants also have clearance for incidental food contact at the concentrations used.

b. SUPERMARKET PROGRAM
The areas within a Supermarket deli, meat and bakery sections are relatively small and the equipment requirements for clean up and sanitation can be carried out with simple equipment. Blades, knives, saws, scrapers, and other small utensils are disassembled from the food cutting or processing equipment and placed into a three compartment sink. First, they are allowed to soak in a detergent solution which is dispensed into the sink through a wall mounted plunger type of hand pump. The components are then rinsed with water in the middle sink and sanitized by immersion into the third, sanitizer-containing compartment. Sanitizer is dispensed into the third sink compartment in a manner similar to that used to dispense detergent.
The stationary portion of the equipment as well as the cutting tables are first cleaned with a high foaming detergent then sanitized with a low level disinfectant such as a quat. The equipment used in this type of operation is usually a commercial version of a garden hose sprayer and using city water pressure as a means of delivering product to the affected surfaces. Water flowing through the hose also creates a partial vacuum within the garden sprayer resulting in sanitizer solution being drawn up and mixing with the water stream as it flows past the garden sprayer’s orifice. Commercial units designed for sanitizer application are accurately calibrated by the manufacturer to dispense a 0.2% solution, which is equivalent to 200 ppm quat (10% active) or 200 ppm available chlorine (10% sodium hypochlorite).
Small, pressurized portable tanks into which a prediluted sanitizer solution has been added also finds use in this application, especially in enclosed areas where sanitizer has to be applied to surfaces that are not readily accessible. Such a system makes use of the pressurized contents to direct a stream of sanitizer over a larger distance than would be possible with a garden sprayer using city water pressure.

c. HOSPITALS AND NURSING HOMES
Large hospitals and nursing homes usually dispense use-solution from stationary, central units; each one located on a separate floor. Frequently these units operate by mechanical action alone and dispense product using the principles encountered above; suction of product as a result of an internal vacuum which is created through the flow of water past an orifice. A typical installation is wall mounted with a single hose connected to the city water input line, and contains from 1 to 5 separate dedicated hoses capable of dispensing several products. Adjusting the orifice diameter at the end of each dispensing hose, results in dilutions varying from 1:256 to 1:20.
To maintain control in small hospitals and nursing homes, 1 to 2 gallon of end use solutions are prepared and then transferred into smaller, trigger sprayer type dispensers which can easily be used by the house keeping staff. Critical areas, such as operating rooms which require high level sanitation, use specialized computer assisted dosing and rinsing equipment.

d. RESTAURANTS
Aside from the routine clean up and sanitization of food contact surfaces and food preparation utensils, the bulk of the cleaning and sanitization in restaurants is in mechanical ware washing. In small restaurants, the dish washing product is usually a powder manually fed into the machine and also provides a source of available chlorine for sanitization. Sufficient product, whether or not needed for the soils encountered must be used in order to provide a residual available chlorine level of 100-200 ppm; a level which is required under most municipal health codes.
In restaurants serving a large number of meals daily, it becomes more economical to meter product into the ware washing equipment via rotary pumps which accurately dispense the quantity of chemical required. The larger ware washing units are equipped with a 3 head rotary pump dispensing unit and each pump is calibrated according to the amount of chemical dispensed per rotation of the pump and the number of rotations per minute. Once properly adjusted, detergent, rinse aid and sanitizer can be accurately dosed at the different required concentrations.

ONSITE PRODUCTION OF CLEANING AND SANITIZERS

AQUAOX Systems produce onsite cleaning and antimicrobial liquids. Through ancillary equipment, these cleaning and antimicrobial liquids are automatically delivered throughout the facility. Users of the AQUAOX System, will receive these liquids by opening designated color-coded faucets installed throughout the facility.

These onsite produced cleaners (NaOH) and sanitizers (HOCL) are capable to replace or significantly reduce the usage of  chemical cleaners and sanitizers resulting in cost-savings and less health risks for the cleaning crew.

In my next blog, I will provide a a brief list of cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting applications for these onsite produced liquids.  The list also include the recommended dosage and method of usage based on proven science.

For more information, please contact aquaox@comcast.net

HOW SANITIZERS EXERT THEIR GERMICIDAL ACTIVITY

February 25, 2010

When bacterial cells are exposed to a sanitizers or disinfectant, various physical structures within the cell may sustain irreversible damage. The permanent loss of a bacterial cell’s capability to reproduce is commonly referred to microbial death. In the presence of germicides, some bacteria, may only be partially damaged. A surface which is swabbed immediately after sanitization can often provide false or negative results, indicating that effective sanitization had occurred. However, depending on the degree, partially inactivated bacteria have the capacity to “heal” or regenerate within 18 to 24 hours and become viable. Such an “apparently” clean and bacteria free surface will show the presence of high levels of bacterial contamination the following day and if left unchecked, can contaminate food products which may come into contact with the surface during the normal course of food processing.
The effectiveness of a specific germicide is a function of several factors, including the number and type of microorganisms which are present on the surface being sanitized.
Some of the factors requiring consideration are whether they are the easy to kill bacteria in their vegetative state or whether they are present on the surface as highly resistant spores. A major consideration that also needs to be addressed is whether other materials such as blood, feces or organic matter are are present within the bacterial environment. These contaminants reflecting an unclean surface, can rapidly inactivate some germicides, such as hypochlorites, rendering them ineffective for their intended use.
In general however, germicides exert their effect by either attacking a specific part of the bacterial cell, or causing damage to some of its components. Germicides can fall into three classifications, based on the their method ot bacterial attack.

a. CELL MEMBRANE DESTRUCTION
Germicides such as sodium hypochlorite of peroxyacetic acid (PAA), are strong oxidizing agents and can cause total destruction of the cells membrane, resulting in vital bacterial components leaking out into their surrounding environment. This process results in a true microbial death.

b. INHIBITION OF FOOD UPTAKE AND WASTE EXCRETION
Some germicides, such as the quaternary ammonium compounds (quats), have the capacity to attach themselves onto specific sites on the bacterial cell membrane. They do this by virtue of the fact that the quats carry a positive electrical charge in solution and are attracted to the negatively charged portions of the bacterial membrane. The end result is that quats block the uptake of nutrients into the cell and prevent the excretion of waste products which accumulate within their structure.
In effect, the cell is both starved and internally poisoned from the accumulated wastes.

c. INACTIVATION OF CRITICAL ENZYMES
Biocides, such as phenolics, which exert their activity in this manner actually enter the cell and chemically react with certain key enzymes which support either cell growth or metabolic activities which supplies the bacteria with the energy needed for growth and multiplication. If inactivation is incomplete the injured bacteria can regenerate several hours later and recontaminate the surface.

ELECTROLYZED WATER: METHOD OF ACTION

It is presumed that viral infectivity is supressed, due to the denaturing and break down of the viral protein necessary for infection, though a reaction of that protein with two types of active oxygen present in the Water:
1.Electrolyzed Hypochlorous Acid (HOCL)
2.Hydroxyl radicals (OH)
It is widely believed that the bactericidal effect of Electrolyzed Water (HOCL-solution) against various strains of bacteria is due to the combined action of hydrogen ion concentration, oxidation-reduction-potential (ORP-reactions) and dissolved chlorine (HOCL).
First, ORP-reactions at the cell membrane damage the outer and inner membrane and inactivate the microbes defense mechanism. Then HOCL can penetrate the cell and oxidize it.



Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl, which is electrically neutral) and Hypochlorite Ions (OCl-, electrically negative) will form Free Available Chlorine  (FAC) when bound together. This results in disinfection. Both substances have very distinctive behavior.

The cell wall of pathogenic microorganisms is negatively charged by nature. As such, the negatively charged Hypochlorite Ion (OCL-) can only penetrate it by the neutral Hypochlorous Acid (HOCL), rather than.

HOCL itself can penetrate slime layers, cell walls and protective layers of microorganisms and effectively kills pathogens as a result. With the aid of ORP-reaction, HOCL can even easier penetrate cell membranes. The microorganisms will either die or suffer from reproductive failures.

According to Dr. Cloete, the advantages of onsite generated HOCL has been confirmed, wherein the biocidal activity of HOCL generated onsite, is 300 times more active than Sodium Hypochlorite at the same concentration of free available chlorine. Additionally, a concentration of 2% HOCL achieved same results than 0,05% Gluterhaldehyde. Similarly, it has been shown that a 5% solution of Sodium Hypochlorite (only to be used as disinfectant) has equal results than 0.03% HOCL (which can be used as disinfectant and as sporicidal agent).

Thus, Electrolyzed Water (HOCL-Solutions) have been conclusively shown to exceed chemically derived equivalents both in low dosage effectiveness as well as physico-chemical purity.

Michel van Schaik, http://www.aquaox.net

HOW BACTERIA BUILD UP RESISTANCE TO SANITIZERS

February 20, 2010

There are three reasons that cause bacteria to become resistant against commercial available sanitizing or disinfecting products.

a. RESISTANT BACTERIA AND SUB-LETHAL SANITIZER DOSAGE

In any given population, bacteria exist within a wide range of sensitivities towards a specific sanitizer dose. Under normal conditions of exposure, sanitizers are capable of destroying 99.999% of the bacteria present. In essence, a surface which initially harbor 1,000,000 bacteria per square centimeter prior to sanitation may be expected to contain only 10 microorganisms per square centimeter afterwards. In such a scenario, the objective of the sanitation process has been achieved in the sense that the total bacterial population has been reduced to safe levels.

What may not be as evident is that the remaining 10 surviving microorganisms capable of withstanding the sanitization procedure, have the potential to act as a source of future contamination. If on subsequent clean up and sanitization, proper dosing or procedures were not adhered to, or the surface has not been adequately rinsed, the 10 surviving bacteria will survive a second cycle of sanitization, as will other bacteria. Over a period of time and involving several cleaning and sanitization cycles, the resistant survivors have the capacity to proliferate, especially during periods in which they are exposed to food product. When this occurs the food processing plant is now dealing with a bacterial population which no longer responds to sanitizing doses of germicide, resulting in a failure of the sanitizer to achieve its objectives. In essence by applying the sanitizer at less than lethal doses or for shorter intervals, the end result is the same as if selective culturing of a resistant strain had been carried out with the possibility of the surface becoming enriched with pathogens and hard-to-kill microorganisms.
A surface which is allowed to deteriorate to such a level of poor hygiene, needs to be “shocked”, by switching to high doses of an alternate product such as hypochlorite and dosing at disinfectant levels. It is not uncommon to require the use 400+ ppm of available chlorine over a period of a week before the surface can be returned to the desirable and bacterial free state.

b. BIOFILM FORMATION

Biofilm formation is another mechanism, in which bacterial resistance towards a sanitizer can occur. As previously indicated, proper cleaning is essential before effective sanitization can occur. Certain bacteria, secrete a polysaccharide which is a constituent of their membrane. These secretions are very sticky and attach themselves firmly to metal surface. The resulting film so formed containing trapped bacteria is referred to as a biofilm. Bacteria which are responsible for biofilm formation may in themselves not be harmful or pathogenic. However, the gelatinous matrix which they excrete is capable of attracting to itself and embedding pathogenic bacteria, such as Lysteria monocytogenes. Although the pathogens themselves do not contribute towards the integrity of the film, they nevertheless are capable of contaminating products which come into contact with the surface.
Biofilms are often very difficult to remove, since their matrix is very resistant to chemical attack by detergents. They often require higher than normal concentrations of alkaline detergents and strong oxidizing levels of sodium hypochlorite in order to remove them. Several applications may be required before the biofilm can be totally removed.

c. DETERGENT-SANITIZER INTERACTIONS

Most cleaning products contain either non-ionic surfactants (emulsifiers and detergents), anionic surfactants or a mixture of both in their composition. In solution, non ionic surfactants are electrically neutral, but anionic surfactants carry a negative charge within their structure. When detergent is applied to a soiled vertical surface the bulk of product runs of within 15 to 20 minutes. However, a small but finite amount of detergent remains on the surface and contains some of the anionic surfactant which was present in solution originally applied to the surface. If the surface is not thoroughly rinsed prior to the application of a quat sanitizer, the sanitizer can be totally inactivated. In solution, quats are positively charged and can therefore combine readily with the negatively charged anionic residue and become totally inactivated.

A metering system may be set to deliver the correct concentration of quat (200 ppm), but once the sanitizer comes into contact with the surface, it reacts with the anionic detergent, and the resulting anionic-quat residue or film so formed has no germicidal activity. Since an anionic-quat complex so formed also contains nutrients favoring microbial growth. Such a complex can actually support bacterial proliferation if left unchecked.

FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS

Neutral Electrolyzed Water (NEW) is a strong oxidizer with hypochlorous acid (HOCL) as active ingredient. HOCL has superior germicidal properties compared to commercial available products. Moreover, as NEW has a very high oxidation-reduction potential (ORP), microorganisms are effectively and 100.00% destroyed. ORP reactions at the cell membrane are the main cause that microbial cells cannot defend themselves when exposed to NEW. Once ORP-reaction have weakened the cell membrane, HOCL is able to penetrate cells and destroy the microorganisms from inside. The last 25 years, a lot of research has been done to explain the superior biocidal activity of NEW. Most scientist believe that ORP reactions, dissolved chlorine (HOCL) and oxygen are the main reasons for NEW’s superiority. Up to now, not a single occurence has been discovered whereas bacteria were able to become resistant against NEW.  It is therefore that scientist who studied the unique features of NEW are convinced that NEW IS the answer to combat hard-to-kill organisms.

More information can be obtained by visiting http://www.aquaox.net.


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