Biofilm Challenges in Breweries

  • 2 February 2022
  • Author: Chem-Aqua, Inc
  • Number of views: 4974

Breweries are obsessive about hygiene. The management of bacterial growth throughout the whole process is thoroughly monitored on a daily basis in a brewery, since the consequences of bacterial action can include: off-taste, appearance change, and unpleasant odors. That’s just the product. Bacterial growth involves the formation of biofilms, which is the primary mode of survival and proliferation for microorganisms leading also to fouling and corrosion of equipment. The impact can be huge on the operations in many ways: cost of production, increased water and energy usage, production yield, commercial reputation, etc. A responsive “Get Clean, Keep Clean” approach can help breweries avoid these problems.

What is a Biofilm and How Does it Pose a Challenge to Breweries?
Biofilm is a layer of microorganisms attached to surfaces. In breweries, biofilm tends to consist of thriving communities of multiple bacteria, yeast, and fungi species generating a coating of slimy buildup that forms a very adherent, protective shield. As biofilm continues to grow and mature in the presence of nutrients, it becomes harder to control and eliminate.

Although alcohol itself has strong anti-microbial properties, it is not of high enough concentration in finished beer to make it a hostile environment for microbiological growth. Therefore, biofilms are common in tanks, filters, conveyors, pipes, pasteurizing equipment, heat exchangers, cooling towers, and bottling equipment – almost at every stage of beer making. Because they are so highly insulating, even a thin layer of biofilm can interfere with production by reducing heat transfer during vital heating and cooling processes. Biofilms can also lead to severe microbiologically influenced corrosion in processing equipment and increase significantly the frequency and time of cleaning operations. In addition to the increased operational costs, these problems can create a ripple effect that can disrupt various other plant processes.

How to Control Biofilms in Breweries?
Biofilm control requires a proactive approach including steps such as:

  • Inspection and Detection: This comprises an in-depth survey to find biofilms and their growth density across the brewery plant.
  • Removal, Cleaning, and Disinfection: This process includes the use of various physical (scrubbing, spraying, filtering) and chemical treatments (biocides, biodispersants, caustic)
  • Maintenance and Prevention: This aspect requires routine specialized maintenance for the prevention of biofilm growth.

Biofilm control calls for industry expertise and experience. Chem-Aqua understands the brewing process and operational challenges within the brewing industry. Chem-Aqua’s Get Clean, Keep Cleanprogram provides specialized products, equipment, and expertise needed to solve difficult problems in your water systems. Our patented bioeXile® cleaning solution paired with our award-winning bioDART® biofilm monitor is new, cutting-edge technology to clean your cooling water systems and keep them clean. Contact Chem-Aqua today to learn more!

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