Clean Chemistry targets F&B with disinfectant tech

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Clean Chemistry's PeroxyMAX generator
Clean Chemistry's PeroxyMAX generator

Related tags Oxygen

Clean Chemistry is in the evaluation stage ahead of plans to enter the food and beverage market next year.

The chemical technology company recently received EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) biocide registration for its patented PeroxyMAX chemistry after three years.

PeroxyMAX is a peracetate salt formulation that produces significant quantities of short-lived singlet oxygen and superoxide and peroxyl radicals.

Singlet oxygen is more selective and longer-lived than hydroxyl radical chemistry. It reacts with sulfide and nitrogen groups in cell membrane proteins, nucleic acids and other structures and is effective for controlling microbes and biofilms.

Building the data

Damon Waters, Clean Chemistry CEO and co-founder, said PeroxyMAX is produced on site and has a half-life measured in hours.

“We are looking to expand into food and beverage with our chemistries as we have seen from work in other industries we can outperform the popular chemistries used so why can’t we do it in that industry as well,” ​he told FoodQualityNews.

“We are doing efficacy tests on product surfaces, looking at chicken chillers and vegetable plumes as produce comes off the farm and where peracetic acid is used.

“On contact time we are collecting data on that, it varies by microbe and dose; E. coli is easy to kill, we are looking at Salmonella and Legionella, which is harder to kill. Our scientists have picked an array which is representative but not exhaustive to find the range as testing each is expensive.

“In the oil field we partnered with service companies to treat water for oil companies. In other industries this may not be the right model, it could be we licence to someone who has the distribution channel in place but we would probably look to do a few ourselves first.”

PeroxyMAX is already used in upstream water management in the oil and gas sector.

The oxidant chemistry is based on activated oxygen in liquid formulations and the process uses reactive oxygen species (ROS).

ROS are highly reactive, short-lived forms of oxygen such as hydroxyl radical, hydroperoxyl radical, superoxide radical anion and singlet oxygen.

FCN plans

Clean Chemistry is pursuing additional registrations to offer PeroxyMAX to a wider array of markets.

“We are looking at food contact, the roadmap is complicated and there are a lot of boxes to check to enter markets, the FDA and USDA are involved. Food contact notification is a six month process and we are inside that and looking at clean in place equipment applications,” ​said Waters.

“Now we can spray on non-food crops to prevent spoilage, in a few months hopefully we will have the FCN and we can do more. As a small company can’t enter all markets at once so this gives us a step by step process.

“We are not thinking too broadly but talking to customers in Canada. We are looking at Europe which has banned chlorine molecules for certain things around food and we would probably partner there being a small company.”

The PeroxyMAX generator (pictured) produces PeroxyMAX as a 4.5% concentrate. It can then be dosed or diluted at any concentration as needed per usage specifications - typically less than 50ppm.

PeroxyMAX said its chemistry outperforms other liquid oxidants including peracetic acid, hydrogen peroxide and sodium hypochlorite, without the downsides associated with gaseous oxidants such as chlorine, chlorine dioxide or ozone.

Move away from chlorine-based chemicals

Waters said the so called ‘clean-tech’ movement promoted chemical free processes but for a lot of industry the reality is at what cost.

“We’ve seen we don’t need chemical free to clean surfaces in the most effective way. There is a move away from chlorine-based chemicals due to issues in areas such as storage,” ​he said.

“Ozone is the sledgehammer of oxidants but it can corrode equipment. UV works in clean water but any turbidity and it will not penetrate and fails to achieve the necessary performance. We are not the silver bullet, there is a place for other technology but our technology doesn’t have the chlorine molecule, it is effective and safe to use.”

The company is 15 people and has locations in Texas and Colorado.

“Singlet oxygen is the primary ROS employed in PeroxyMAX, which is powerful and selective towards bacteria that are damaging towards industrial processes and has demonstrated effectiveness on harmful bacteria including E. coli and Legionella​,” said Dr Wayne Buschmann, Clean Chemistry CTO and co-founder. 

“At the same time PeroxyMAX has an environmentally benign and non-toxic residual, which is particularly important to industries like food and beverage, pulp and paper and water.”

Related topics Food safety & quality

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