Windsor, Ontario-based Tersano Inc is one of the world's leading manufacturers and designers of instruments to provide soluble aqueous ozone (SAO). SAO is a human-safe alternative to harsher more persistent cleaning products as, like bleach or detergents, it sterilizes surfaces, but unlike them, the active agent, ozone, is an unstable gas that rapidly decomposes to oxygen and evaporates away. This makes it a perfect tool for working in the food industry where residual cleaning agents are unacceptable. However, despite progress in the development of this technology, we still have only a rough understanding of the relationship between the required ozone concentration, time of contact with the surface, and resistance to the treatment from a variety of antimicrobials. We also have a poor understanding of how long we can store SAO after it is produced in proper sealed containers. Current protocols use "overkill" exposing the surface to significant amounts of SAO for a sufficiently long time, but new regulations coming into effect around the world mean that Tersano needs to have a better understanding of precisely how their instruments perform. To address these questions, they are partnering with the Trant Team at the University of Windsor, who have been focused on developing antimicrobial agents for various applications, to measure these outcomes.
The team will focus on determining the SAO parameters required to eliminate various common and emerging human and food pathogens, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and bacterial spores. They will also be looking at how various impurities in the water and the environment affect these rates. This is to be an initially 1-year project, and will involve a combination of the microbiology, analytical chemistry and chemical engineering expertise available in the academic team. Together, this will provide Tersano's product development team with information to guide their design of next generation tools.