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28 Jul 2020

Random microbial spikes? You may have a biofilm

The presence of biofilms on open surfaces in the food and pharmaceutical industries is a major risk factor when it comes to hygiene and safety, and most companies are unaware of their presence.

How does BioFinder find biofilms?

BioFinder is an innovative tool developed by scientists, that generates white foam when in contact with catalase (an enzyme) produced by microorganisms in a biofilm. The foam is easy to identify because of it’s contrast to the orange colour liquid of the product.

BioFinder reacting positive to the presence of biofilm on various surfaces

What is a biofilm?

A biofilm is a group of microorganisms that adhere to surfaces and produce extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) to protect themselves. A biofilm is highly resistant to conventional cleaning and disinfection procedures, making it extremely difficult to remove. If left undetected and untreated it can quickly get out of control.

Why are biofilms so dangerous?

Because once you have biofilms in your factory they are extremely persistent and almost impossible to get rid of.

In the life cycle of a biofilm, when reaching maturity, one of two things can happen:

  • Dispersion: the EPS shield ruptures and releases high counts of bacteria into your factory that can contaminate your product.
  • Detachment: parts of the biofilm break off and reattach elsewhere in your factory causing a continual cycle of biofilm formation and contamination.

This is what can cause those random spikes in both time and space of your bacterial counts.

And, despite best practices in hygiene and regular cleaning, biofilms can remain present and undetected in your factory…until it’s too late.

Regular disinfection is not enough to get rid of biofilms. You need to break the cycle!

In conclusion:

  • If you are experiencing random spikes you may have a biofilm.
  • Using BioFinder you can reveal where they are lurking on surfaces.
  • Then you need to eliminate and prevent them from reforming using our foaming enzymes – EnzyJet Plus and BioJet

Biofilms in CIP require a different approach. Look out for our next article (coming soon) on the detection, elimination and prevention of biofilms in closed systems.


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