Monday, December 3, 2012

Monitoring of microbial growth and sporulation

pH, temperature, nutrients and biocides are usually observed when the risks of microbial growth and sporulation inside paper machines should be estimated. Fourth important factor, time, will be often ignored, no matter it plays a most significant role in paper process microbiology. The simple figure above shows two important parameters which reveal the microbiological status of the white water in an anonymous paper machine (my personal data ca. 2006): Colony Count (CC, indicating the count of vegetative bacterial cells per ml) and Spore Count (SC, indicating the count of bacterial spores per ml). It is obvious that this very sample contains relatively high amounts of nutrients to secure the rapid growth of bacteria (the growth rates of bacteria, carried by white water, are usually much lower but bacterial densities, in opposite, on a very high, stabile levels). What is especially important in this case is the rapid increase of bacterial spores - producers of process biofilms after their outgrowth and risks for product hygiene in their original form - which seems to take place after ca. 0,5 days storage time. This event takes place practically always when the flow of white water, pulp and broke have been stopped during the delays of constant machine operation. The hygiene status of the total process would then be very important to know - how much spoiled water and broke can be supplied from towers to the process, are there risks to have biodeteriorated raw materials from the storage tanks, is there any need to use shock dosing of biocides in some sites etc. - but it cannot be done by using CC, SC or any other cultivation technique which give analytical results only after several days' incubation periods. Long analytical delays in colony count analyses also totally prevent the efficient application of HACCP hygiene control procedures into paper machine environment. - These are the facts which motivate me personally to continue planning rapid, ON LINE process hygiene methods.

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