The Technology

Overview

About Iodine

Iodine v Chlorine

Competitors Comparison

Studies / Test Results

Corrosion

Features / Benefits


Competitors comparison

There are a number of existing treatment chemicals and systems used world wide in the disinfection of water and surfaces. These include:

Chlorine Systems

Chlorine based sanitation systems are by far the most commonly used. Chlorine products are available in the form of gas, or as the hypochlorite of sodium or calcium.

Chlorine is a powerful oxidizing compound capable of reacting with both organic and inorganic matter in water. The chemical’s strong oxidizing properties reduces the level of biocide remaining to be available to inactivate micro-organisms (the goal of any biocide). As a result, systems using chlorine must be continuously monitored in any direct process flume wash operation where fresh fruit and vegetables are washed prior to further processing.

The disadvantages of chlorine systems surround maintenance of effective dosage levels, monitoring, safety and corrosivity issues. Chlorine is only effective in a very narrow pH range of 6.5 to 7.5. Chlorine solutions will not naturally remain in this range requiring constant monitoring and adjustment by addition of acid or alkaline solutions. It is difficult to accurately measure free available chlorine in the form of hypochlorous acid (the only biocidal active chlorine specie) in line automatically above 8ppm chlorine. Other manual systems of measurement are often inaccurate and time consuming.

Chlorine sanitiser compounds have the potential to form deadly chlorine gas if the pH of the water decreases below 4.0 or if the temperature rises significantly. Chlorine is corrosive to numerous metals, increasing plant maintenance costs. Additionally, chlorine can be irritating to the skin and mucous membranes.

Chlorine produces carcinogenic trihalomethane (THM) by-products which have been the subject of governmental maximum limits in the USA and EU. These limits have recently been reduced due to increased concerns.
The US FDA is currently reviewing the health and environmental impacts of the ability of chlorine sanitisers to form toxic organic chlorine by-products, such as the suspected THM compounds. These issues have created a significant opportunity for Ioteq’s much environmentally and labour safe Isan System to be introduced into the market.

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Quarternary Ammonium Compound Systems

Systems using quarternary ammonium compounds (Quats) benefit from their ability to leave a residual anti-microbial film on the food surface. These systems are not designed for flume wash water treatments unlike the Isan System. However they are used predominately for sanitising process equipment and conveyers as well as food surfaces Which presents limitations.

The disadvantages of Quat systems is that they are unsuitable for food processes using starter cultures, such as yoghurt, cheese, beer or wine operations. They also have a low tolerance to hard water, and are incompatible with most cleaners and detergents. Additionally, Quat systems cannot be used within the organic food industry due to the formation of a residual film.

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Chlorine Dioxide Systems

Chlorine dioxide is a gas that is soluble in water and these systems are often used for drinking water disinfection.
The major disadvantages of chlorine dioxide systems are the high initial capital cost to install an on-site generator, electrical energy costs and worker safety. Chlorine dioxide gas is ten times more toxic than chlorine gas and is sensitive to light at temperatures greater than 30 degrees celsius (or 86 degrees fahrenheit). Chlorine dioxide systems are not ideal for sanitising in the fruit and vegetable market as most systems are required outdoors or in regions where temperatures exceed 30 degrees celsius. Additionally, chlorine dioxide is highly explosive when in contact with ammonia compounds.

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Peroxyacetic Acid Systems

Peroxyacetic acid is a fast acting sanitiser that works on the same basis as chlorine based sanitisers.
The major disadvantage of peroxyacetic acid is its sensitivity to metal ions. Peroxyacetic acid is corrosive to soft metals such as brass, copper and galvanized steel, with the corrosive properties accelerated at higher temperatures. Additionally, peroxyacetic acid is known to have a bleaching effect on certain fruit and vegetables if the dosage range deviates outside of a narrow range.

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Calcium Hypochlorite Systems

Calcium hypochlorite sanitation systems predominately use tablets which disolve in water and deliver chlorine solution into the water stream. Whilst these systems are comparatively easy to install, it is difficult to regulate the chlorine release rate, due to issues such as pressure and flow rates.

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Ozone Systems

Ozone is a powerful oxidising agent that is naturally unstable. Because of ozone’s inherent instability, it cannot be stored and must be produced on site at the location where the sanitation is required. Whilst ozone systems have been shown to be more effective at killing bacteria and viruses than chlorine systems, they are more expensive than most other systems.

There are also significant worker safety issues with ozone since the gas is a powerful respiratory irritant. As a result, ozone systems have not been widely employed in the food industry and results to date have been mixed.

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Ultra Violet Light (UV) Systems

  • Invisible part of the spectrum which can’t be seen by human eyes;
  • To produce ultraviolet radiation, low-pressure mercury gases in quartz crystal are ignited between two electrodes with a large current of electricity;
  • There are three categories of UV radiation based on their wavelengths: UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. UV-C is of a shorter wavelength (in the range of 254 nm);
  • Regular maintenance of UV lights is required on an ongoing basis;
  • For drinking water and other applications, a disinfectant can be required to support the UV system as the UV system by itself cannot provide residual protection;
  • TSS (Total Suspended Solids) can shield the micro-organisims from the UV light, leaving harmful bacteria and other micro-organisms unharmed from the UV light;
  • TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) can form a coating which fouls the lamp sleeve and reduces the effectiveness of the UV lamp;
  • The indirect effect of TDS on water quality can impact the lamp’s performance, and has the potential to increase fouling of the quartz sleeve that protects the UV lamp from moisture;
  • Temperature is also a consideration as the water must be between 40 and 80 degrees fahrenheit (4.5 degrees celsius, and 26.5 degrees celsius).

In summary, UV disinfection works only when Total Suspended Solids are low and the water is clear. UV disinfection systems also require a “line of sight”, meaning it cannot penetrate cracks and solid objects. Additionally, running and capital costs can be high.

Summary of Competitors

Chlorine systems currently dominate the market. However, the market is also in urgent need for a more effective, automated system that can provide a guaranteed accountability to owners, auditors and customers in an environmentally clean process. Ioteq’s Isan System is the only system on the market that can deliver all of these solutions.

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