1. Work with Ecolab to test effectiveness of cleaning protocols for removal of established biofilms. </P>
2. Establish conditions necessary for the development of a biofilm. </P>
3. Test appropriate cleaning and sanitizing protocols for the effective removal of the biofilms.
Spore forming and other quality-destroying bacteria found in pasteurized milk are of concern to fluid milk processors, milk driers and cheese manufacturers. These bacteria are capable of producing exopolysaccharides that allow them to establish colonies on equipment after prolonged processing runs. These colonies are called biofilms. Bacteria in these biofilms are more resistant to sanitizers, heat and cleaning protocols. It is thought that the formation of biofilms takes several hours of continued operation of equipment or several hours where the equipment has been used but not cleaned before it is used again. Once established the biofilms will continually slough bacteria and spores into the milk. </P> This study will investigate cleaning chemicals that prevents biofilms from forming on dairy processing surfaces and remove established biofilms. Researchers will develop biofilms in a pasteurizer using bacterial strains, and will include spore formers that have been isolated from pasteurized milk and are a concern to the dairy industry. Ecolab will provide expertise, cleaning chemicals, and will help activate the learnings. Cleaning chemicals will be either generic or part of a patent that expires in February 2015.