Biofilm Control for Industrial Waters
Industrial operations can face a number of serious problems due to bacterial Biofilms growing in process water systems and cooling tower waters. Biofilm-induced corrosion, mechanical blockages and impedance of heat transfer processes result in huge monetary losses each year. In engineered systems, additional risks of biofilm-mediated contamination include negative public health consequences and product spoilage.
This article addresses aspects of biofilm control strategies for industrial processes and introduces a promising disinfectant – Mixed Oxidant Solution. MIOX has amassed a large body of laboratory and field data indicating that Mixed Oxidant Solution (MOS) can provide both cleaning and disinfecting properties, excellent features for an ideal biofilm control strategy in industrial process and cooling water.
Overview of Biofilms
Biofilms are aggregates of predominately bacterial cells attached to and growing on a surface. These biofilms are found in aqueous environments and often are resistant to disinfection. A biofilm forms when bacteria begin to excrete a slimy, sticky substance that allows them to adhere to surfaces. An additional structural feature called the extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) is thought to provide the biofilm with increased resistance to antimicrobial agents and biocides. Within a given contaminated system, the biofilm mass often varies with location, and is typically composed of many species of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, algae and protozoa. Once initial adhesion occurs, biofilm is difficult to remove.
Biofilms also can shelter disease-causing microorganisms, such as Legionella, Listeria and temperature- resistant bacterial spores, which normally are inactivated readily in their planktonic, or single-cell, form. Industries that must control bacterial populations (including water and wastewater distribution systems, cooling towers, swimming pools and remote areas where access to operations is difficult) would benefit greatly from a safe, user-friendly and viable method for controlling biofilms. Improved biofilm control technologies also could decrease costs by minimizing system sizing or the use of high-temperature or high-energy processing steps.
A Novel Biofilm Solution
Many biocide treatment regimens exist, including a multitude of combinations of cleaning (hot caustic, such as sodium hydroxide) and disinfection chemicals (quats, chlorine or proprietary biocides). An alternative to these variable regimes is MIOX’s Mixed Oxidant Solution (MOS).
MOS is a simple, cost-effective cleaning and disinfection solution that also provides enhancements to biofilm control strategies. MOS, a proprietary blend of hypochlorite and other oxidants, is generated on site through an electrolysis process using salt, water and an electrolytic cell. The chlorine based product of electrolysis has clearly exhibited the ability to remove biofilm, unlike traditional chlorination technologies. Third-party research, visual documentation from municipal and industrial operators and a number of improvements in water quality that are understood to result from removal of biofilms provide evidence for the biofilm control ability of MOS.