Measurement of chlorine dioxide penetration in dairy process pipe biofilms during disinfection

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Biofilms are considered a significant health risk in the food and dairy industries because they can harbor pathogens, and direct contact with them can lead to food contamination. Biofilm control is often performed using strong oxidizing agents like chlorine and peracetic acid. Although chlorine dioxide (ClO2) is being used increasingly to control microbiological growth in a number of different industries, not much is known about disinfection in biofilms using chlorine dioxide. In this study, a microelectrode originally made for chlorine detection was modified to measure the profiles of chlorine dioxide in biofilm as a function of depth into the biofilm. In addition, discarded microelectrodes proved useful for in situ direct measurement of biofilm thicknesses. The chlorine dioxide microelectrode had a linear response when calibrated up to a ClO2 concentration of 0.4 mM. ClO2 profiles showed depletion of disinfectant at 100 μm in the biofilm depth, indicating that ClO2 may not reach bacteria in a biofilm thicker than this using a 25 mg/l solution.

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