Monday, March 17, 2008

Rapid control of microbiological status of a paper machine.

Paper industry trust on traditional, proven microbiological methods. Customer claims force the paper mills to use them for end-product QC.

Fast detection - and forecasts - of mb problems cannot be performed by these methods. Some promising progress has taken place since 90's, however:

* optical detection of attachements in paper machine water systems (usually based on IR techniques)
* collection & microscopy of test coupons from processes
* luminometric methods for the evaluation of microbial activity in raw materials and processes

Unfortunately there seems to be no "rapid method" for the estimation of product hygiene yet. Methods of molecular biology may help in future?

Luminometric methods, connected with the examionation of real ("ecologic") process samples is the best alternative for specific assays of microbial counts and activities. Combination of rapid incubation and luminometric assays of process samples is available today ("BIOTOUCH" concept, see figure in right marginal below).

Several calculations and estimations about spare of money has been done. All of them indicate significant reduction of costs which are caused by poor-acting biocide programs (ref. inadequate antibiotic treatment of patients!), problems in machine drive and decreased quality of paper and board product.

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