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What is a biofilm

To find out why we are engaged in combating biofilm, it is helpful to know what biofilm is. Biofilm is a slimy layer of cooperating microorganisms. These pose a danger to human and animal health. In places where microorganisms in water have the opportunity to attach themselves to surfaces, biofilm can form. What are those places? Almost anywhere that is wet for long periods of time, where water is stored or flows through, biofilm can form. Biofilm is difficult to control because it is resistant to many agents. It forms in both water pipes and our bodies. At Watter, we focus exclusively on larger drinking and process water systems.

The danger of biofilm

When we talk about the risk of biofilm, we are talking about the damage that can occur when such a slimy layer forms in your (process) water or (process) pipes. Those microorganisms in biofilm are bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeasts. In other words, they are potential pathogens that you would ingest if you or your animals were to drink water from such a contaminated pipe. In process water, they cause rapid product spoilage and possibly infect people who consume contaminated products. Consider the regular recalls of products in the supermarket because they may contain salmonella.

Microbiologically induced corrosion

MIC, or microbiologically induced corrosion, occurs when biofilm forming microorganisms secrete substances that are corrosive. MIC degrades the lifespan and quality of various surfaces (metal, concrete, rubber or even plastic) and quickly becomes a higher cost issue. The gasses from biofilm decay substances that are corrosive and cause damage to materials which results in clogging or even hazardous explosions.

Why biofilm is so persistent

The microorganisms not only attach to the surface, but even cooperate and spread through the water supply system. The microorganisms communicate by secreting a substance, this allows them to know how many and what type of microorganisms are nearby. Together they form a layer based on extracellular polymeric substances, which eventually becomes the slime layer. With proteins, they attach to each other and form not one, but even several layers. In addition, the microorganisms spread through the rest of the system. This is what we call microcolony formation. We compare it to a forest because each species within the biofilm has its own task. Just like all the plants, trees and animals in a forest. Back to the question "what is a biofilm?" for a moment. A harmful collaboration of microorganisms that you would rather not have in your water or production pipelines. You wouldn't want them in your environment at all. The good news is: we've found a way around that.

Why remove biofilm?

The dangers and disadvantages of biofilm become bigger when you use pipes within your farm in which biofilm can form. Even if the drinking water meets the standard, as a livestock farmer your animals are still at risk of disease due to the presence of biofilm in drinking water pipes. In the process and food industry, your products lose quality due to microorganisms in the process water. It is very logical and wise that you are looking for solutions to remove biofilm.

Remove biofilm with chemicals

Until recently, the only way was to use disinfectants. So chemicals, such as chlorine, bleach or alcohol. There are many drawbacks to this way of removing biofilm:

  • Toxic substances, so harmful to people and the environment;
  • Chemicals are expensive;
  • No optimal effect due to incorrect dosage;
  • Temporary effect, biofilm returns.

Remove biofilm with Watter

The disadvantages of the traditional way of combating biofilm have motivated us to find something better. And we succeeded. Watter disinfects in a sustainable, biodegradable way. The Watter system is a device that produces an environmentally friendly disinfectant using electricity, salt and water. The electrolysis of the salt and water creates a disinfectant with the most active ingredient, HOCl.

The benefits of removing biofouling with Watter:

  • It is biodegradable and thus safer for humans and the environment;
  • No dosing errors so it works better than chemicals;
  • You produce disinfectant yourself, so you earn back the device;
  • Biofilm disappears thanks to continuous dosing and therefore stays away;
  • Watter Disinfection Solution is added in such a low dosage that it leaves no residues (such as chlorate).

Proven effective

Watter has been proven effective against biofilm on livestock farms as well as in industrial environments. And that has also been proven externally. It has been extensively tested by TNO, among others, for the control of bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses and the disinfection of surfaces, rooms, medical instruments and water systems. Are you ready to tackle your biofilm problem? Please contact us for more information.

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