Livestock
Material Inputs
Industrial Water Treatment
Oil and Gas Recovery
Pulp and Paper
Marine Shipping
Fuel Preservatives
Metalwork
Cooling Towers, Evaporative Condensers, and Fluid Coolers

Countless industries rely on the judicious use of specialized materials to preserve the integrity of industrial processes and ensure worker safety.

Livestock

Antimicrobial provide a crucial role in maintaining the safety, viability, and value of livestock production.

Livestock farms in the U.S. have grown into large operations with dense livestock populations. While this consolidation into larger and larger operations has significant economic advantages, it also increases the challenge to control disease threats. As farmers have decreased the routine use of antibiotic drug additives in animal feeds, there is a greater need to disinfect equipment, buildings and other surroundings to protect animals’ health.

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is considered the most economically devastating of contagious diseases among livestock because of the variety of species potentially involved, its rapid spread, and the difficulty in controlling outbreaks. A FMD outbreak in the U.S. would result in an estimated $14 billion loss of farm income, or 9.5 percent of the total annual U.S. farm income.

Antimicrobial provide a crucial role in maintaining the safety, viability, and value of livestock production in the U.S. for disinfection of processing materials and facilities.

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Material Inputs

Polymer or latex dispersions, emulsions, and slurries are used to manufacture many products, including adhesives, paints, coatings, non‐woven fabrics, paper, printing inks, and construction materials. Slurries, which are mineral dispersions, are growing in popularity for coatings, paper, and construction because they are easier to transport than dry pigments and can be significantly more economical for manufacturers. However, they offer significant growth media for microbial contaminants. 

Environmental standards have pushed many manufacturers to limit their use of “volatile organic compounds” (VOCs), organic solvents used in many of these materials. VOCs have been replaced by water-based solutions, which help reduce pollution, but increase the need to control microbial contaminants. These products have become more prone to contamination from bacteria, yeasts and fungi.

Many manufacturing inputs are stored in large tanks that are continually topped off and rarely allowed to empty. They are usually bottom‐filled, causing the top portions to become stagnant and contaminated. Materials are then transferred to tanker trucks or railcars for shipment to a manufacturer, and may remain stored for several months—this provides a significant opportunity for microbial growth. Antimicrobials, thus, are essential to ensuring the integrity of the product.

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Industrial Water Treatment

Industrial uses of water include boiler‐makeup, processing, product treatment and cleaning, cooling, and many others. The largest users per unit price of product manufactured are the power, steel, chemical, energy (oil), and pulp and paper industries. 

Microbiological treatment and management is crucial in all water systems, in particular for industrial water treatment. The primary problems arising in water systems are fouling and biofouling. Fouling generally is the presence of unwanted surface‐attached materials on submerged materials. Biofouling, in simplest terms, is the attachment of any organism to submerged surfaces or the presence of biological material in the suspended phase. Controlling fouling and biofouling are essential to the operation and integrity of the water systems.

The control of fouling and biofouling is also essential to reducing costs. Industrial water consumption is a significant factor in production costs, and has become an important consideration as part of ongoing efforts to conserve limited water resources. For example, throughout the chemical industry, more than 80 percent of water used for cooling and steam generation is recycled. Therefore, in‐plant water recycling and wastewater treatment systems are significant parts of the industrial processes for many facilities. As the use of recycled water increases, there is an even greater need for the use of biocides to control water quality and prevent corrosion, scale deposits and biofouling.

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Oil and Gas Recovery

Antimicrobials are used throughout the extraction processes.

The oil and gas industry extracts oil and gas from deep underground and offshore. The oil and gas is then transported to refineries and chemical plants for further processing.  Antimicrobials are used throughout these processes. 

Petroleum recovered in this manner, as well as petroleum containing naturally occurring water, must be treated to separate the oil from water. Microorganism growth can cause severe problems at any point in the water‐handling systems, including generation of hydrogen sulfide or oil‐entrapping solids, and severe corrosion of equipment. Therefore, biocides are also added directly to the producing wells to minimize microbial growth, thereby protecting equipment and maintaining the integrity of oil‐producing formations. Biocides also are added to drilling mud, workover, and completion fluids used in drilling production wells; water floods where water “pushes” oil to an extraction well; treatments of oil and gas field process waters; and oil and gas pipeline and tank maintenance products. The reason—conditions in oilfields are conducive to bacterial growth. Bacterial contamination can lead to increasingly frequent equipment failure from corrosion, increasing hydrogen sulfide concentrations, reservoir souring, declines in production and transmission, metal sulfide scales with subsequent failure of downhole equipment, filter plugging, loss of injectivity and inefficient heat exchange. Costs would grow exponentially if biocides were not routinely employed to prevent contamination.

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Pulp and Paper

Biocides are essential as a material preservative in pulp production and papermaking.

The pulp and paper industry consists of hundreds of manufacturers, ranging from large global companies to small, individually‐owned, specialty paper producers. The goods produced include linerboard, corrugated boxboard, building products, paper bags, tissues and toweling, printing and writing paper, newsprint, bleached board, magazine stock, and literally hundreds of specialty papers. Some paper grades are even used in electronic circuit boards, furniture, absorbent materials, and automobile parts. The inputs for pulp and papermaking offer ideal growth media for microorganisms, and biocides are essential as both material preservatives and in treating the massive volumes of water involved in pulp production and papermaking. 

The cellulosic material used in paper production is an ideal food source for microorganisms, and the high heats employed in the process offer ideal conditions for them to thrive. Bacterial slime growth is a significant problem in every mill, and must be controlled to protect the massive capital investments required to construct a mill, and to assure efficiency and product integrity. The production value is dependent on effective microbiological control to a significant degree. Depending on the size of the mill, the costs incurred when a machine is down for cleaning or repair can be tens of thousands of dollars per hour. Ineffective microbiological control results in numerous shutdowns, as many as one per day, to what should be a continuous process. Stopping the production process can be costly, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars weekly.

Catastrophic events have occurred as a result of ineffective biological control. For example, in a Wisconsin paper mill in 2008, a storage tank exploded, killing three workers. The three workers were welding on a catwalk above a storage tank where flammable hydrogen gas, produced by high bacteria levels, was present. While this is an extreme example, it is a real‐world consequence of ineffective control of microbial growth.

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Marine Shipping

Biocidal products are known as “antifouling coatings.

Organisms, primarily barnacles, macroalgae and microbial slimes, accumulate on the surfaces of ships’ hulls and submerged permanent structures, such as piers and drilling platforms. This build-up, or “fouling”, can be reduced through the use of biocidal products known as “antifouling coatings.” If left uncontrolled, these organisms cost society greatly in terms of lost productivity, decreased efficiency, increased energy use, time losses, and environmental damage.

Antifouling coatings protect marine ships from corrosion and prevent organic material from growing on the outside of ships. By preventing this growth, antifouling coatings help minimize drag, which optimizes fuel consumption. With antifouling coatings, average fuel consumption of ships is 29 percent more efficient.

The use of biocides in this industry leads to other economic benefits. Costs are incurred when fouled hulls are cleaned and repainted, which includes complying with appropriate regulations to prevent environmental impacts from these activities. Marine ships that carry microorganisms not native to U.S. waters cause irreparable harm as the introduction of invasive species to U.S. waters can cause major environmental damage. These non-native species threaten the survival of roughly 42 percent of the native species on the threatened or endangered species lists. Antifouling coatings are an important tool in the struggle to protect our nation’s environmental integrity from invasive species.

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Fuel Preservatives

Distillation of crude oil generates hydrocarbon fuels of varied carbon chain lengths for use in many different energy‐generating applications. Fuel performance properties, such as efficiency and stability, can be negatively impacted by spoilage microorganisms, for example, in an airplane setting. Preventing expensive and potentially life‐threatening engine failure and aircraft gauge malfunction is one of the most important reasons for biocide usage in the fuel industry. Biocides are valuable additions to storage tanks, aviation fluids, fuel tanks, diesel fuel, gasoline, kerosene, marine fuels, biodiesel fuels, and in mixtures with other fuel additives and enhancers. Biocide usage is critical in some fuels to maintain their integrity during storage, distribution, and use.

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Metalwork

Metalworking fluids (MWFs) are used to reduce heat and friction, and to improve product quality in industrial machining and grinding operations. Water‐based MWFs support microbial growth, with biological contaminants including bacteria, fungi and their related biological byproducts, such as endotoxins, exotoxins and mycotoxins.

Sources of contaminants include airborne materials, soils from parts, shoes, floor sweepings, and even workers (perspiration, skin cells, spittle, etc.). Re‐inoculation is continuous, and water‐based fluids must be protected from costly deterioration, equipment obstructions, and performance failures. The annual adverse economic impact of uncontrolled microbial growth is valued in the tens of millions of dollars. Biocidal prevention of uncontrolled microbial growth helps to ensure continuous and smooth equipment operation, energy and input cost savings, and safe and healthy workplaces.

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Cooling Towers, Evaporative Condensers, and Fluid Coolers

Cooling towers, evaporative condensers, and fluid coolers may be considered a subset of industrial process systems. However, due to the operating conditions of these systems, specific issues need to be addressed including corrosion, scale, fouling and biofouling. The ambient temperatures in these systems provide an ideal environment for the growth of microbes, including the Legionnaires’ disease bacteria, making water treatment essential for both effective operation and to control proliferation. Microbial treatment of these recirculating water systems is essential to reduce microbial growth, in addition to the significant benefits derived from protecting equipment, maintaining recycled water quality, conserving energy and resources, and overall efficiency.

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