Posted: November 22, 2008

Self-Sanitizing Walls - Green Nanotechnology Solution for Food Production Facilities

(Nanowerk News) Green Earth Nano Science, Inc., a nanotechnology solutions provider and a global supplier of proprietary photocatalyst* technology, finalist in 2008 Green Log Award, recently introduced easy to apply, green, environment friendly, transparent, self-sanitizing hygienic coatings for interior applications, distributed globally under the GENS NANO brand.
GENS NANO self-sanitizing coating technology protects building interiors; once coated, walls, ceilings and other treated surfaces remain protected for many months and in some areas for years. GENS NANO is installed by trained personnel or by certified applicators. Application can be easily integrated into any surface disinfection or sterilization cleaning process.
GENS NANO hygienic coating technology utilizes a natural mineral - titanium dioxide. TiO2 has been approved by EPA as a food additive over 42 years ago and has been widely used by food manufactures, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and other industries. Approximately 4 million tons of pigmentary TiO2 are consumed annually worldwide. TiO2 is also an effective opacifier in powder form, where it is employed as a pigment to provide whiteness and opacity to products such as paints, coatings, plastics, papers, inks, foods, medicines (i.e. pills and tablets) as well as most toothpastes. Used as a white food colouring, it has E number E171. Titanium dioxide is often used to whiten skim milk; this has been shown statistically to increase skim milk's palatability. In cosmetic and skin care products, titanium dioxide is used both as a pigment and a thickener. It is also used as a tattoo pigment and styptic pencils.
Thanks to advances in nanotechnology, Green Earth Nano Science, Inc. has developed breakthrough coating technology that utilizes unique properties of nano-TiO2 such as antimicrobial, self-cleaning and air purification properties. Titanium dioxide itself has no toxicity to microbe and the cell. Only after the irradiation of light such as fluorescent or UV light, natural mineral TiO2 activates its unique photo catalytic properties. In the presence of light and water in the air, titanium dioxide oxidizes organic molecules, converts complex organic molecules into water and carbon dioxide. Photo catalytic power of titanium dioxide successfully destroys bacteria cell’s wall and its membrane, and reacts with cell’s components, which inhibits bacteria’s activity and ultimately results in the death and decomposition of bacteria, thus eliminating bad odours created by a living or decomposing bacteria and also reduces risk of bacteria spread.
Recent listeria and e.coli bacteria outbreaks in food industry had forced the government to propose a mandatory testing of plant surfaces such as countertops and meat slicers by company staff, as well as non-contact surfaces such as walls, ceilings and drains. The frequency will vary by production levels and specific processing procedures, but insiders say that surfaces that touch food will have to be tested at least once a week.
GENS NANO hygienic coating not only improves indoor air quality but also effectively reduces organic based compounds (VOC’s), organic based odours, bacteria and mould. In practise, cleaning and disinfection of interior surfaces such as ceilings and walls causes considerable trouble, high consumption of energy and chemical detergents and consequently high costs. Any disinfection done today protects surfaces only for few minutes or few hours. Installation of advanced self-sanitizing coating technology protects building’s interior such as walls, ceilings and other treated areas for months or years depending on surface type and treated areas. Once coated, surface remains self-sanitizing provided that enough light is present to activate photo catalytic effect of titanium dioxide. Various tests proved that treated surfaces, when illuminated by light, efficiently control and restrain bacteria growth reducing risk of surface bio-contamination. Technology brings additional benefits for the environment and the facility such as less water and chemicals needed to disinfect walls and ceilings, less impact on the environment, improved indoor air quality and reduced building maintenance costs. There is never too little protection when it comes to food safety or when it comes to eliminating any risks of potential sources of bio-contamination. Installation of self-sanitizing natural mineral coating on walls and ceilings inside food processing plants or clean rooms will help those companies to reduce to a minimum any potential risk of bio-contamination through non contact surfaces.
Green Earth Nano Science, Inc. is marketing its technology and services to the janitorial sector, food manufactures and processing plants, restaurants, interior building services sector, clean room operators, laboratories, clinics, medical facilities, animal clinics etc. The company has developed a complete range of environmental services available to license to regional applicators, contractors, entrepreneurs and distributors. Hygienic coatings and other environmental solutions are used by the company to improve indoor environments and to protect properties against Sick Building Syndrome, bad air quality, odours, moulds, fungus and surface bio-contamination.
(*) Photo-Catalysis is defined as "acceleration by the presence of a catalyst". A catalyst does not change in itself and is not consumed in the chemical reaction. This definition includes photosensitization - a process by which a photochemical alteration occurs in one molecular entity as a result of initial absorption of radiation by another molecular entity called the photosensitized. Chlorophyll in plants is a type of photocatalyst called photosynthesis. Photocatalysis occurs when chlorophyll captures sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and glucose. Photocatalysis is the creation of a strong oxidation agent to breakdown any organic matter into carbon dioxide and water in the presence of the photocatalyst, light and water.
Source: Green Earth Nano Science (press release)
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