THE SCIENCE BEHIND PROBIOTIC CLEANING

Background Problems

The Antibiotics and Disinfectants Era

A wide range of pathogenic (= disease causing) bacteria and fungi cause numerous health problems in humans and animals. Some examples are Camphylobacter, Candida, Clostridium, E. coli, Legionella, Listeria, Salmonella, Staphylococcus (MRSA hospital bacteria), and Streptococcus. In addition to the dangers that these organisms entail to the privacy of all of us, they also provide huge economic losses such as increased animal mortality (agriculture), loss of production (food) and increasing health costs (hospital bacteria). The discovery of antibiotics and disinfectants offered a solution in the big fight against these bacteria. When in World War II the first antibiotic penicillin was applied in practice, this proved to be a panacea to suppress infection. In the decades that followed, these chemicals have been used fully. It was under the assumption that diseases and bacteria could thus be suppressed forever.

Unfortunately, it soon became clear that certain bacteria began to oppose the commonly used antibiotics. They were resistant. This means that a certain pathogen is no longer affected by a given dose of antibiotic. Healing is thus hampered.

In the next phase, multi-resistant bacteria appeared. These are bacteria that are resistant to different types of antibiotics. The known MRSA bacteria (which stands for Multi-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) was one of the first which arised. This bacterium still causes major problems in hospitals worldwide.

The issue of multi-resistant bacteria led to the start of a bad and dangerous development in the general hygiene. Suddenly it was a strong emphasis on the ‘sanitizing’ of an area. They used the motto: if you can not suppress it with antibiotics once they have caused illnesses, it should just be killed on and around all the people.

The last ten years we also see a dramatic increase in sales of disinfectants, which are becoming more ‘normal’ household devices equipped with a touch dangerous chemicals. The consequences are dramatic. In recent years, we see that many of the resistant bacteria very quickly develop resistance to these disinfectants. It is clear that the use of antibiotics and disinfectants era comes to an end and that alternative, such as probiotic cleaning, are necessary.

Biofilm

A biofilm is a complex aggregation of micro-organisms in a protective and adhesive matrix. Although innumerable different types of biofilm can arise, they do have some characteristics in common: they are attached to a (carrier) surface, have an irregular structure, home to sometimes very diverse microbial community and are strongly reinforced by the extracellular matrix of polymeric substances. In no time, the biofilm grows into a macroscopic structure with which a very persistent matrix is produced which protects the microorganisms from the outside world. A mature biofilm is a very complex structure in which the various micro-organisms interact with each other and each perform their own metabolic functions. Their common goal: shielding the outside world and the maintenance of the protective matrix. The extracellular matrix can be seen as the “glue” that holds the whole biofilm together. It consists of polymers, which are called collectively extra cellular polymeric substances or exopolysaccharides (EPS). This matrix protects the cells and allows internal communications by using biochemical signals. There will also often be “channels” found in the matrix, which allow a transport of nutrients. It is known that micro-organisms in a biofilm will behave differently. There are often more pathogens and in particular are more resistant (up to 1000x) against antibiotics, detergents and biocides.

Figure 1: Biofilm under microscope

The PIP Concept

Microbial management

One of the alternatives for disinfection is microbial management. Bacteria are vital for life on earth. The majority of the bacteria are useful. It is therefore not advisable to get rid of them all. Instead, it may be better to strive for a healthy balance between the bacteria, so the risk of harmful bacteria will be much smaller. With microbial management you try to achieve a stable microflora in the area, not by fighting against the bacteria but fighting with them. This can be done by Chrisal probiotic cleaners.

Figure 2: Microbial management
Figure 2: Microbial management

How to approach the biofilm

The formation and presence of biofilm is, as the name clearly states, a problem of a biological nature. It is known that a biofilm will shield itself strong and effective of all kinds of chemicals such as detergents, biocides and antibiotics. The only way to prevent the formation of biofilms and to remove existing instances efficient, is by using biological infiltrators from inside to do their work. The probiotic bacteria in the PIP products Chrisal ensure that:

  1. The basic building blocks such as proteins, sugars, and glycerides will be consumed, and therefore are not available for the build-up of an extracellular matrix. This way they pro-actively avoid the formation of biofilm.
  2. The present active biofilm will be broken down. The probiotic bacteria will be admitted to the biofilm, where they can act on the components of the matrix from the inside so that it is weaker. PIP bacteria also consume a large proportion of the nutrients, so that an increase or restoration of biofilm is prevented. Thus the existing biofilm will weaken and crumble.
    Figure 3: Biofilm removal using probiotic cleaning (Week 2 of Probiotic Cleaning)
  3. After the removal of the biofilm, the surface will be kept clean retro-active

Composition of Probiotic Cleaning

In Probiotic cleaning products there are these so called “green” cleaning products that provide the first, superficial cleaning; the removal of visible dirt. To substantiate the green aspect of the PIP products, Chrisal has requested and obtained the Ecolabel for the non-probiotic version of the PIP products. They did this because the bacteria are not included in the current Ecolabel criteria. PIP products are thus Ecolabel products with the addition of probiotic bacteria.

Furthermore the probiotic cleaners contain a combination of enzymes and probiotic bacteria, which are responsible for cleaning aftereffect. They provide a stabilization of the microflora. Besides cleaning the probiotic bacteria also provide an “occupation” of the areas with harmless, “good” bacteria. As a result, there is no longer sufficient space available for food and other organisms that “land” on the surface and it reduces the risk of the development of harmful bacteria. With probiotic cleaners you actually do two things at once: on the one hand, a healthy microflora will be applied to the surfaces, on the other hand, you no longer use harmful chemical disinfectants so the resistance of bacteria is no longer encouraged.

Figure 4: Probiotic cleaning