Bürkert: ORP can detect micro-organisms leading to food outbreaks

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Bürkert will monitor and control PH, chlorine, conductivity, oxidation reduction potential (ORP) and turbidity in water processing with its Online Analysis System to be launched in September.

The measuring system for water parameters will initially be sold in seven countries; Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, UK, Australia and US.

Pathogen survival rates

Andreas Ulsperger, product manager, Online Analysis System, Burkert told FoodProductionDaily it did not have such a system in its portfolio before.

Prior to this, it had sensors that focused on one water parameter not five.

It is a completely new device and a diversification to what we have in our portfolio so we are entering a new market with this product,” he said.

The ORP value is the sum parameter for oxidation or reduction characteristics of the water. It can measure the disinfection potential, showing the activity of the disinfectant rather than the applied dose.

E. coli, salmonella, listeria and other pathogens have survival times of  o < 30 s when ORP < 665 mV (millivolts) or o > 300 s when ORP < 485 mV.

If there are microbiological issues in the water, such as E. coli, salmonella or listeria, it’s not a direct relation to the ORP value. The relation is more that the ORP value shows how good the order is to reduce microorganisms,” said Ulsperger.

Disinfectant dosage

Top 10 features Online Analysis System

  • Compact and modular
  • Miniaturised design with sensors based on MEMS
  • A combination of analysis parameters in one single device
  • Easy integration into other systems
  • Continuous measurement of high priority water parameters
  • Supplement to stipulated laboratory analyses
  • Signalising warnings when values exceed predefined limits
  • Regulated dosing of treatment solutions
  • High resolution 7” touch screen for easy operation and visualisation
  • Can be extended by further sensor cubes connected to one single display unit

It means if there are micro-organisms in the water they can be detected and reduced with the disinfectant dosage. If you want to measure the quantity of disinfectant you need to directly measure this parameter, eg the chlorine.

The ORP does not react so quickly, if there is more disinfectant in the water the ORP will increase. The water has a capability to inactivate micro-organisms, it has no growing condition for microbiological things. It is more an indicator. It measures the doses and controls of the level of chlorine which leads to a better ORP.”

The top half of the Online Analysis System Type 8905 has an electronic control touchscreen display, the second half contains sensor cubes which are plugged into the controllers backplane which connects the sensors to the power supply, internal serial büs and fluidic connections.

MEMS sensor cubes

The sensor cubes work via micro-electro-mechanical systems or MEMS. These have miniaturized compnonents with structures down to the nano level that combine electronic and micro-mechanical technology in one chip.

John van Loon, segment manager hygienic, Bürkert, said in the future the company wants to extend its biosensors in the food and beverage sector.

It would be great if we had direct sensors in place. With milking robots for example, you want to know the level of bacteria in the product,” he said.

It would be great if we could do that with sensors. We have a lot of requests from the market and R&D is working on it but it will take a lot of time to come to fruition.”

Loon added the compact design can save money for the user because it requires less space, has lower energy consumption, requires less wiring and less maintenance. The platform contains numerous analytical sensors and all units can be purchased from a single source.

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