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Innovation Opportunities

Bottle Closure Sanitation

RFI-170109

This opportunity is closed

Xinova seeks the disclosure of new bottle closure sanitation methods that reduce or eliminate the use of water.

It is critically important to sanitize the closures of bottles containing beverages intended for human consumption. Failure to reduce the amount of bacteria, viruses, molds, yeasts, and spores harbored in such bottle closures can have serious consequences with respect to product quality and safety, potentially leading to negative customer reactions or even product recall.

RFI-170109_Bottle Closure SanitationPeracetic acid (PAA) is a commonly employed and highly effective sanitizer, particularly when used in conjunction with hydrogen peroxide. However, PAA sanitation processes involve a significant amount of water. In addition, while PAA concentrations ranging from 85-2500 ppm are used for cleaning purposes, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations require a maximum concentration of 1 ppm for disposal, meaning that solutions must be diluted considerably. Accordingly, the use of PAA requires a significant amount of water in both the cleaning, rinsing and disposal processes.

Globally, trillions of gallons of beverages are bottled each year. While carbonated soft drinks are the traditional leader in market share, other drinks such as bottled water and ready-to-drink teas and coffees are gaining in share. New inventions are needed to ensure that these drinks remain safe, while reducing unnecessary water consumption during production. Proposed solutions should achieve the following objectives:

  • Reduce or eliminate the amount of water used in bottle closure sterilization processes; and
  • Reduce or eliminate the use of chemicals in bottle closure sterilization processes.

Background

Sterilization and Disinfection Sterilization is a process that destroys or eliminates all forms of microbial life. In contrast, disinfection uses antimicrobial agents on non-living objects or surfaces to destroy or inactivate microorganisms. Accordingly, disinfectants may not kill all bacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores. Most disinfectants are weakened or inactivated by organic matter, such as dirt and feces. Sanitation is the use of an antimicrobial agent on objects, surfaces, or living tissue to reduce the number of disease-causing organisms to non-threatening levels, leaving some spores and viruses unaffected. This RFI focuses on sanitation, as it is not necessary to completely eliminate all microbes from the bottle closures. Factors that affect sanitation efficacy include the following:

  • Type of microbial contamination;
  • Concentration and exposure time to sterilant or disinfectant;
  • Physical nature of the object (e.g. surface irregularities);
  • Presence of biofilms;
  • Temperature;
  • Organic or inorganic load present; and
  • pH of disinfection process.

This opportunity comes from the efforts of Xinova’s R&D Consulting and Innovation team.

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