Sunday, July 6, 2008

Microbiology shall be taken as an important issue in paper production.

IM will thank Dr. Elias Hakalehto about his valuable comments!

It seems that there is only one industrial environment where the intense growth of harmful bacteria is allowed: paper and board production.

This is caused by the need of huge amounts of water inside paper mills. This water is carrying valuable raw materials and (despite the frequent questions by IM) the most spoiled water fractions will not be delivered to waste water treatment. The spare of water has led to (microbiologically) insane solutions like the use of certain white water fractions in spray water system of wire section. Every microbiologist knows what happens...

There are several microbiological threats in paper industry:

* spoilage of raw materials
* biofilm and slime problems of the machines
* defects of product hygiene
* health risks

Production of paper without water was discussed at 80's. It does not work. Connection of fibres in wire section has failed. Water is needed to form a network of fibres, strong enough to "jump" to pressing section. It is an impressive event: still having tens of percents water, paper will go independently over a gap between wire and pressing rolls, without any support...

Water is needed in paper machines, no doubt. But how to control its microbiological quality?

Harmful bacteria can (which IM has experienced) be detected with rapid methods like PMEU, ATP Assay and PCR. It is the question of (economical) resources if it will be done.

1 comment:

Elias Hakalehto said...

This is an excellent overview of the problemacy in the paper making! Actually there should be microbiological control almost as tight as in any BIOTECHNOLOGICAL PROCESS in the wood industry production line. After all, why could we not consider paper as a biotechnical product? - This approach could open up new ideas about the entire industries. We need solutions to improve the biomass utilization, and the microbes do offer these solutions. - Elias Hakalehto, PhD; Docent in Biotechnical Microbe Analytics