A new holistic approach to microbial control

21-Jun-2006

Byotrol is pioneering a new approach to microbial control

The challenges facing the many diverse and demanding markets affected by the constant threat of microbial contamination are vast. The control measures afforded by tried and tested antimicrobial products are well documented. However, the development of resistance to these products and their application means the need for new microbial control technology is always at the forefront of the market.

The company Byotrol has developed and patented a new antimicrobial technology whose core proposition is safety, ease-of-use and delivery of a complete antimicrobial solution.

The technology is suitable for commercial application in markets where microbial control and the elimination of such hazards and threats are paramount. Byotrol has, therefore, established a product range for applications within the following business segments:

  • Healthcare – in hospitals and cleanrooms;
  • Food & drink – in processing and manufacturing;
  • Technical and commercial sectors – in fungal growth and building fabric.
This new microbial control technology uses the combined effect of chemical and physical forces to kill micro-organisms and provide lasting inhibition to biofilm formation.

Non-chemical bonding

A selection of known biocides are associated by non-chemical bonds to an inert polymer structure that is strongly hydrophobic. When applied, this combination forms a monolayer to both wet or dry surfaces.

Byotrol’s patented innovation physically attaches a selected and synergistic blend of approved biocides to a polymer backbone, resulting in significant biocidal and surface-active properties. When applied to wet or dry surfaces the non-covalently attached biocides induce cell lyses. Simultaneously, the chemical architecture of Byotrol is attributed to form a nanocoating of steep, alternating gradients of low and high surface tension (see figure 1).

This physical effect has a bearing on all types of micro-organisms, substantially disrupting their ability to adhere, reproduce, and form or maintain biofilms. Byotrol is designed to preclude the development of microbial resistance though its physical effects and the multiple modes of biocidal action employed.

The material can be sprayed directly, but when applied through Byotrol’s patent pending ‘‘fogging’’ system, electrostatic charged particles (ca. 15µm) seek to coat all exposed surfaces and are drawn through ventilation systems. This enables treatment of both the production area and the associated air services – ductwork, filters and grilles.

The chemical architecture of Byotrol significantly improves the performance of existing, approved and registered antimicrobials. Multiple biocides allow “custom” formulations to achieve specific product requirements for microbial safety and inhibition in products serving the healthcare, food processing, consumer and industrial sectors.

The backbone of the material has a unique character of both hydrophilic and hydrophobic components that are combined in the nanoscopic monolayer. This enables penetration into “nano-nooks and crannies” where the biocides kill viruses, bacteria cells and spores, fungi and algae on contact. Beyond this initial application, Byotrol then inhibits biofilm formation through a mechanism that interferes with, or disrupts, microbial attachment.

The ability of the microbial threat to attach to the surface and then commence the building of a biofilm is inhibited. Futhermore, the potential for microbial growth from an existing strain, which may lie undetected on a partially treated surface, is restricted; hence the growth is controlled and the biofilm again inhibited.

During the development phase of the Byotrol technology, a large catalogue of independent scientific data and governmental certifications was collated to demonstrate the material’s broad band efficacy in killing bacterial pathogens, spoilage organisms, bacteria spores, yeast, mould and viruses (see table 1 and figure 2).

Non-hazardous

The Material Safety Data Sheet and the labelling of the products as “non-hazardous” demonstrate that Byotrol is in fact safe, non-hazardous, presents no significant toxicological risks and is biodegradable. Put simply, Byotrol is safe for the end product and its environment, workers, plant and process equipment, and the environment at large.

Practical trial results demonstrate that Byotrol is effective in:

  • Food plant applications to provide long-term control of total aerobic plate counts (<1/cm2); effectively destroys Listeria and other pathogens.
  • Healthcare applications, where it has the ability to provide safe, effective microbial control while delivering collateral benefits such as odour control.
  • Hospital applications, where Byotrol has been proven to be effective against MRSA, C. Difficile and Norovirus.
Other applications will show Byotrol’s efficacy in agriculture and protection of materials exposed to natural environments.

Byotrol has efficacy certifications from the UK’s Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association (CCFRA) and the company is participating in a CCFRA steering group set up to provide guidelines on Cleaning & Disinfection for the Food & Drink Industries. The company is also currently supplying its products and services into the food and healthcare industries with exceptional microbial results, including fogging of open plant areas, cleanrooms and confined spaces, such as chillers and vessels.

A scientific study has been carried out over a six-month period in a major NHS hospital, the results of which will be published in a clinical paper and presented at an international conference later on in the year. The trial took place, in part thanks to the “low-hazard” nature of Byotrol products, within the fully operational hospital environment – this being further field-based evidence of Byotrol’s polymer-based disinfectant capabilities and its broad range of efficacy and long-acting ability in preventing, minimising and controlling the formation of biofilm.

The product has full approval for use in European food plants, and is safe to use, non-corrosive, non-toxic, non-flammable and compatible with all materials used in the food plant, from soft metals to gasket materials.

In addition to these benefits, the company’s clients have indicated that Byotrol-treated surfaces remain easier to clean. The polymer-coated surfaces reduce attachment forces between production-generated soil and plant equipment and structures. Others users have indicated that Byotrol-treated belts release product better, thus improving yield.

The company believes that these and further applications will demonstrate that the antimicrobial is more than just a disinfectant capable of 5DR in five minutes at 10°C. For example, it is being tested for its ability to extend the useful life of modular belting, and as a dry (dryer) lubricant for package conveyance.

Competitive advantage

Byotrol use should result in reducing water and chemical consumption, labour and wastewater. Certainly, it has been shown to provide a competitive advantage where on-going and reliable control of spoilage organisms and pathogens are of continuous concern.

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