Silver and H2O2 – Agents for Food Hygiene
These conventional chemicals are sold in the market under different trade names. However, these chemicals are not free from their evident disadvantages like:
- non ecological
- slow or difficult to decompose
- their ability to react with basic substances
- dangerous when overdosed
- partly carcinogenic and mutagenic with unpleasant taste and odour
Continuous use of these chemicals also leads to development of genetic resistance. Research has been going on for years in this specific field to develop a new product with a broad spectrum, mircobicidal activity, free from genetic resistance, carcinogenicity, mutagenicity and toxicity, to help man fight its smallest yet most dangerous enemies.
We have recently introduced a new broad spectrum biocide based on hydrogen peroxide and silver in a complex form. The complex is free from different disadvantages of conventional biocides.
Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) – A Clean Solution?
H2O2 is a highly oxidising agent with powerful disinfectant properties. Also, it is a substance which, by the emission of O2, transforms itself into pure H2O, thus leaving no trace of foreign substances in treated water.
H2O2 is used industrially as a food additive, bleaching agent and for carrying out chemical reactions. It is increasingly being used to decontaminate and purify industrial sewage and exhaust air. However, in its concentrated form, hydrogen peroxide is fairly unstable and has a tendency to decompose, so that stabilizing agents have to be added. This marked tendency has been a hindrance in using hydrogen peroxide as a water disinfectant. Further disadvantages of hydrogen peroxide are: high sensitivity to rise in temperature, sensitivity to sunlight and UV-rays, slow, short and limited effectiveness. It is thus not suitable for preventing recontamination.
Silver: Food Hygine Agent Surpreme
The term ‘oligodynamic’ was coined by the Swiss botanist Carl von Nageli in 1880, as he found that highly diluted silver solutions (Ag) have an algicidal effect. He discovered that a silver concentration of 0.01 mg/l had ‘incredible’ effects on vegetation – such as algae etc., and he named this ‘oligodynamic effect.’
Important progress was later made since tests showed that the same low dosage also had a bactericidal effect. Silver proved to have several advantages over the commonly used water disinfectants. ‘Silvered’ water has the following benefits – odourless, causes no eye irritation, does not produce chloramines or other irritating water substances. As Ag–ions can be dosed in minimal quantities – neither the chemical nor physical properties of the treated water are altered; they can be applied in a wide pH-range and do not influence the pH-value of the water. Also, Ag is very potent at high water temperatures. As silver is ‘supreme’ in its long-lasting bacteriostatic effectiveness, it very actively prevents regermination and recontamination.
Combining the Advantages for Food Hygiene
Our above-mentioned formulation is known as Virosil. The advantages of the two main components H2O2 and Ag+ can be found in it, which explains why Virosil is a revolutionary disinfectant.
One advantage very relevant to the food processing industry must be emphasized right away. Combination of oxidation and oligodynamics has resulted in a two-phased (multifaceted) product, which is capable of destroying bio-films. This process is extremely important when attacking higher forms of bacteria and viruses, which have developed a bio-film as a protective coat. H2O2 oxidises the film, thus enabling the Ag+ to penetrate unhindered and remove the bacterium or the virus. In normal concentrations (i.e., without dangerously overdosing), Virosil is one of the far products capable of destroying bio-films.