Fighting the Biofilm Challenge in Personal Care Manufacturing Lines

Biofilm: A Big, Slimy Problem

Biofilm microscopic image

Biofilms are a buildup of microorganisms that can form and adhere on wet surfaces in Clean-in-Place (CIP) production lines. Persistent against conventional cleaning and sanitization procedures, biofilms can resist mechanical action and protect the embedded microorganisms against environmental stressors, and allow pathogens to tolerate even concentrated antimicrobial exposure.

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Biofilm Risks in Personal Care and Cosmetics Manufacturing:

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Product Quality Issues

Biofilms can harbor organisms that cause product spoilage, damaging product quality, reducing shelf-life, putting brand image at risk and may lead to costly recalls.

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Consumer Health and Safety Risks

Bacteria harbored in biofilms may contribute to life-threatening infections and diseases in humans.

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Equipment Damage and Operational Issues

Biofilms on metal surfaces can lead to microbially influenced corrosion (MIC) and can also damage other surface types and lead to operational issues such as reducing pipe flow and water contamination that ultimately leads to costly downtime.

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Ecolab’s Life Sciences Division is dedicated to developing the best possible products and services to support our customers in the pharmaceutical and personal care industries.

Related Articles

Identifying Biofilm Issues in Personal Care
Production Environments

There are three key ways to evaluate your production operation for signs of biofilm:

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System Testing

In addition to biofilm indicator products, look for:

  • Unexplained spikes in microbiological counts in rinse water, line sampling, etc.
  • Increases in environmental positives
  • Increased failures with ATP devices
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Visual Inspection

Biofilm presence is often indicated by appearance as well as abnormal textures and odors. Look for:

  • A rainbow, brownish or slimy appearance
  • Slimy or rough textures (including microabrasions)
  • Sour, musty, “off” odors
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Finished Product Inspection

Biofilm can impact product quality. Look for:

  • Product micro-failures
  • Final product contamination

Fighting Biofilm Requires Advanced Chemistry

Biofilms can resist conventional cleaning and sanitization procedures. In particular, biofilms are especially resistant to mechanical action and steam sanitization — two common processes. Personal Care production operations need to seek out advanced chemistries that can penetrate and kill biofilm pathogens.

Ecolab Oxonia Active LS:
Helping Solve the Biofilm Challenge

Oxonia Active LS features an EPA-registered biofilm penetration and kill label claim on non-porous, hard surfaces for Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC 15442) and Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 6538), helping ensure product safety and safeguarding product quality.
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Penetrates Biofilm

Advanced chemistry breaks down the toughest soils and process residues and penetrates the sticky biofilm matrix.

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Kills Biofilm Pathogens

Provides EPA-registered antimicrobial activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus harbored within biofilms.

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Accelerates CIP Protocols

Formulated to be effective at lower concentration and temperature to help increase CIP efficiency.

Ecolab Oxonia Active LS Can Help Your
Personal Care Production Facility Fight Biofilms

  • Addressing Challenges in the Life Sciences Industry

Ecolab Oxonia Active LS provides EPA-registered biofilm disinfection against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus, helping protect product safety, product quality and equipment life with advanced chemistry formulated to penetrate biofilm.

  • CIP Efficiency to Minimize Downtime

Oxonia Active LS is non-foaming which further minimizes impacts on productivity and plant performance.

  • Non-Corrosive to Protect Surfaces and Equipment

Oxonia Active LS is safe to use on 304 and 316 stainless steel and aluminum surfaces and is compatible with most plastic and rubber materials when used as according to label instructions.



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Ecolab Life Sciences is a trusted partner for quality, safety and efficiency in Pharmaceutical and Personal Care manufacturing. Contact us to learn how we can help you achieve your goals and keep you on the cutting edge.

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