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PathoSans: A green solution for plant wash downs

Cleaning down plant and machinery is a key process when it comes to making sure the end product isn’t contaminated and meets stringent Australian standards in terms of food and beverage hygiene.

There are many different types of products available, but very few offer up a clean, green solution where the residue can be washed away, and the staff carrying out the process have to wear minimal PPE gear.

PathoSans has been around for more than a decade and uses only two ingredients – salt and water – and the electrolysis process, which has been around since the 19th century.

Celio Furquim is the Queensland sales manager for Spraying Systems, the company that invented PathoSans. He said that the cleaning system is a win-win for both getting plant up to scratch from a hygiene point of view and for the environment, too.

“Sanitising high touch surfaces is just as important as sanitising your hands. We want to replace the traditional chemicals that are used in food and beverage manufacturing and processing plants,” he said. “The idea was to replace them with something that is eco-friendly and going to cost less. Some of these chemicals are dangerous from an employee point of view. PathoSans is skin and eye safe, no risk of burns and no PPE required.”

Dr Juhi Saxena is the product specialist for Spraying Systems. She said the key to PathoSans is the electrolysis process, which creates the liquid that is used for the washdowns.

“Although we use salt, softened water and electricity, what makes us different is that we have a dual membrane in place that helps us minimise the salt residue to a negligible level in our product,” she said. “Since there will be no salt residue in the product, there is none left on the plant or machinery.”

This part needs to be reiterated, because when people hear the word “salt” they think corrosion. PathoSans leaves no salt residue behind, but, as Saxena explained, the active ingredient has an interesting background.

“We are making sure the product is in a specified pH range that gives us the opportunity to explore the possibilities of a chemical that is not really a ‘chemical’ in the true sense,” she said. “It is something that the body makes when it is fighting infections called hypochlorous acid and that is the active ingredient in our sanitiser that ensures efficacy at the same level as the harsh chemicals that currently dominate the industrial market.

“The dual membrane filtration within the system ensures that the main active ingredient generated in our sanitiser – hypochlorous acid – does not contain  any salt residues. It is an advancement in the area of electrolysis and has a lot of benefits, including meeting the environmental regulations that companies and industry have to adhere to in order to prevent heavy fines.”

The basic concept of PathoSans is that the active molecule that forms is very volatile. It’s something that is generated on site and can be used straight away.

“If you are trying to market a product, consumers want a shelf life of six months or so. This places a lot of pressure on the cleaner and sanitiser generating companies, which ultimately results in the use of harsh chemicals, that although offer a long shelf life, can pose an extreme occupational hazard for the handlers due to their concentrated forms that need dilution. The on-site generation system with PathoSans, allows you to manufacture your own cleaner and sanitiser in the amounts that you need without any further dilution,” said Saxena. “The concept of on-site generation is just slowly beginning to trickle its way into industries because a lot of companies are product oriented, whereas we are machinery and safety oriented. We see a lot of savings in transportation, storage and not having to get rid of  toxic chemicals.”

Both the cleaner and sanitiser follow the same protocol of application.

Users take the solution out of the tank and spray it on the plant and machinery and then wipe it off . They can use spray bottles or a rag with the solution on it to clean. It is also possible to apply the cleaner in a foam form, leave it for a few minutes, then wash or wipe it off. The residue goes straight into the drain without treatment because it is 99.9 percent water.

“Most bacteria have good defences that can repel, reject, or destroy common sanitisers ” said Furquim. “Over time, the bacteria become immune to them. Since our sanitiser is neutrally charged they don’t see us a threat and we are as effective or better than other better than other sanitisers, even at comparably low concentrations, which also eliminates the risk of chemical burns. In other words, when the bacteria notice it, it’s already too late and our molecules have already reacted with critical components of the bacteria, such as the cell wall, nucleus, and critical
cell organs. That gives no chance for bacteria to build an immunity.”Saxena backs up that by explaining how other chemical cleaners work compares to the PathoSans system.

“Most people use a common bleach, which has a higher pH than we use,” she said. “The hypochlorite ion released  from the bleach interacts with the outer lining – like the skin if you like – of the bacteria, which over time may develop resistance in the bacteria, which requires a concentrated product to achieve sanitisation. What happens with PathoSans is that our active ingredient, hypochlorous acid, has the ability to passively diffuse through the cell wall, which results in oxidative damage in the cell. In other words the destruction is from within.

“Given the current climate scenario, I think it is very important that people realise that we are not just in business to make money, we are people that understand the needs of the world, and that we need to make the environment much more sustainable than it is today. Even a little step like this – clean and green technology – can help us reduce the environmental damage that we cause, if not eliminate it completely. We only produce what we can use and give outstanding results that exceed the expectations of the traditional chemicals. The need of the hour is to  understand the good implications of using this system in the long term. It is a sustainable technology and it can never go out of practice.

“Getting a product out there that can be used at large by anybody without any toxic fumes, and won’t give anybody any health issues, is very important. People need to be aware of the  kind of benefits PathoSans offers on top of keeping plant and machinery in good shape.”

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