NASA’s efforts to eliminate microbes in its cleanroom areas such as that of the Mars orbiter and the International Space Station, is for “planetary protection” − preventing germs from riding spacecraft into and contaminating other worlds.
While NASA’s leadership in space exploration is laudable, according to The Atlantic magazine, they struggle with cleaning and disinfection in their cleanrooms, especially as it relates to Acinetobacter baumannii (AB). Per the article, Bacteria Survive in NASA’s Clean Rooms by Eating Cleaning Products: “These microbes can eat the very cleaning products that are meant to banish them.”
“Disinfectant chemicals intended to kill bacteria are feeding, sustaining, and increasing the sterilization tolerance for some microorganisms,” says Lisa Pratt, NASA’s planetary-protection officer quoted in the article (Ref. 1). AB is a prime example, plus a dangerous microbe resistant to antibiotics (Ref. 2).
Researchers led by Rakesh Mogul, California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, have found AB can now feed on ethanol and “might also be able to grow on isopropyl alcohol, the main chemical used to wipe cleanroom surfaces, and Kleenol 30, the detergent used to scrub [Nasa cleanroom floors] … [AB] can [also] resist hydrogen peroxide, desiccation, radiation, high pressures, and temperatures of up to 80 degrees Celsius [176 F].”
Bringing Planetary Protection Home
Fortunately, there is a solution right here on Earth: the Advanced Vapor Technologies (AVT) TANCS® Saturated Steam Vapor (SSV) system has been proven to destroy AB in a protective biofilm within 3-seconds of treatment. Within 1-second of treatment it equals the performance of 10 parts per million (ppm) bleach (sodium hypochlorite) left on the surface for 10 to 20 minutes! (Ref. 3)
It does all this with tap water without chemicals, producing low-moisture (6%), low-pressure, high-temperature at the surface (100°C, 212°F) steam, applied with insulated tools to deliver moist heat to obliterate germs on contact.
Isn’t it time to apply space-age cleaning and disinfecting technology on Earth? Call 800-997-6584 or visit www.advap.com.
- Bacteria Survive in NASA’s Clean Rooms by Eating Cleaning Products, The Atlantic, June 2018.
- Acinetobacter baumannii: An Emerging Opportunistic Pathogen, Virulence, 2012.
- Biofilms on Environmental Surfaces: Evaluation of the Disinfection Efficacy of a Novel Steam Vapor System, American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), 2012.