While research laboratories must be clean, labs performing biotech work involving cell cultures and molecular biology must be pristine - if not sterile.
According to Cathy Peacock, a Senior Microbiologist in the Dow AgroSciences, Indianapolis, Bioprocess R&D function, while their lab facilities had always been clean, it was critical that even tiny amounts of invisible biocontaminants be thoroughly removed as her group embarked upon more specialized biotech work.
"Through environmental monitoring techniques - before and after hygiene measurements involving an adenosine triphosphate (ATP) luminometer and cell counts from RODAC plates - we had data showing that floor cleaning using traditional methods would not sufficiently reduce the microbial load for our purposes in expanded biotech research," Peacock said.
After consulting with Dr. Jay Glasel, a specialist in cleanroom microbiology and the founder of Global Scientific Consulting, LLC, Farmington CT, Peacock and her team decided to test a Kaivac 1750 high flow fluid extraction (HFFE) machine for cleaning lab floors, and to share results with the environmental services staff.
According to Dr. Glasel: "High Flow Fluid Extraction (HFFE)—is a no-touch method also referred to as ‘spray-and-vac' that uses pressurized application of water containing an EPA-registered disinfectant or other approved cleaner to contaminated surfaces followed by vacuum suctioning that removes the applied liquid along with the suspended solids and dissolved contaminants that have soiled the surface."
"The ATP and other after-cleaning measurements were quite impressive," Peacock said. "We brought in the cleaning manager and staff and they were also impressed. We now use the HFFE or spray-and-vac machine exclusively and monitor the cleaning of several thousand square feet of lab flooring including several dedicated research and cleanroom facilities."
"The Kaivac machine has certainly reduced our incidence of contamination when used properly and on a regular basis," Peacock said. "As a microbiologist, it's easier to function in an environment that I know is clean."
Dow AgroSciences LLC, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, is a top-tier agricultural company providing innovative agrochemical and biotechnology solutions globally.