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By Destiny Jolade 04 Dec, 2017
Outbreaks can mean months of investigation for the company involved, the FDA, CDC and other public health departments. It can mean hundreds of recalls on product and a damaged company name from growing distrust. A 2014 mold outbreak resulted in the fatality of a 29-week-old infant. A product recall in over 25 states across the United States followed. The premature infant experienced immune system trouble and the hospital attempted to remedy the issue by treating the child with a probiotic.

Probiotics can be found in yogurt, capsule, or powder form and is intended to flood the consumer’s large intestine, or colon, with healthy bacteria over time. The harmless bacteria from these sources are valuable because they occupy space and nutrients, which otherwise a harmful microbe could nest in. Being preterm, the infant lacked both a fully functioning immune system and precious gut microbes to prevent the mold’s spread.

The mold, Rhizopus Orgzae, is an opportunistic fungus that takes residence is dead matter. Upon surgical investigation, the hospital found the infant’s bowel was necrotized, which happens when cells die. The bowl was heavily inhabited by the fungus, which caused mucormycosis. Mucormycosis is a rare, acute infection caused by fungus of the order Mucorales. Symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea and fever (1).

These is little to be done in sensitive cases where patients have a compromised immune system. The irreplaceable loss of a child cannot be reversed nor could it be foreseen. Outbreaks like this highlight the importance of utilizing numerous resources before shipping products. Outbreaks are preventable with the right education and resources. Good Manufacturing Practices, like what Sure-BioChem promotes, lessens the risk for financial and emotion expenses that could punch holes in a company. Take advantage of SBL’s Environmental Monitoring to identify any molds, viruses, or bacteria in your products or request Cleanroom Training where SBL can assist you in creating efficient philosophies for your company to stick by.

References
1. http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/mucormycosis/
By Destiny Jolade 01 Dec, 2017

In 1980, the EPA established the Superfund program in response to heightened levels of unregulated toxic dumping grounds near and around residential zones [4,7]. Through the Superfund program, the EPA is tasked with the assessment, mitigation and remediation of these sites, which often pose a public health risk to the surrounding communities due to the hazardous compounds that are associated with these sites. Although these site are reclaimed through remediation, many studies have shown that toxic compounds often have a propensity to leach into the soil and local groundwater sources long after remediation practices are finished. [5].
Oftentimes, Superfund sites are characterized by contamination of substances such as arsenic, lead, mercury, benzene, cadmium, vinyl chloride, trichloroethylene, free radicals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [3]. Consequently, through the diversity of potential contaminants, there can be differentiation in the methods of action of remediation techniques [1,3]. Selection of remediation techniques used in Superfund sites “can be a challenging task due to the uncertainty in assessment of level of contamination, high costs of remediation and the collateral impacts of the technique on the environment.” [6]. Although remediation techniques are numerous and often require specialized analysis for their implementation, the majority of remediation techniques often fit into five main categories:

(i) complete or substantial destruction/degradation of the pollutants, (ii) extraction of pollutants for further treatment or disposal, (iii) stabilization of pollutants in forms less mobile or toxic, (iv) separation of non-contaminated materials and their recycling from polluted materials that require further treatment and (v) containment of the polluted material to restrict exposure of the wider environment. [6].


Though the processes and technologies behind Superfund site remediation are continually improving, it is not uncommon to have the residual contaminants in the air, soil and water of surrounding communities after the the remediation processes are complete.
In the tri-state area, there are a shocking number of Superfund sites collectively totaling about 206 as of 2016. The breakdown of these sites follows with there being 100+ in New Jersey, 90+ in Pennsylvania and 16 in Delaware. Though many of these Superfund sites may have been cleared for reuse within the larger community, subsequent studies have shown that although levels of contaminants in soil “‘become less bioavailable, their total concentration in soils remains unchanged” [2]. Furthermore, complete removal of these contaminants is often precipitated through natural processes from plants; however, remediation in urban environments that have a noticeable absence of active plant life or have been shown to be “subject to leaching thereby causing groundwater contamination.” [2].
Given the continued rise of urbanization globally and nationally, many of these remediated Superfund sites often lie in areas that are ideal for future construction projects. As a result, prospective developers may not know of the health risks associated with residual contamination from these contaminated sites. Consequently, it is recommended as a matter of due diligence that environmental monitoring and testing be performed on all existing and planned development sites by certified testing laboratories like Sure-Biochem Laboratories. Sure-BioChem Laboratories specializes in providing the highest quality environmental testing and monitoring services year-round. Our experienced team is trained in producing verifiable testing services for for lead, manganese, arsenic, mercury and volatile organics in remediated or contaminated sites.


For additional information regarding our environmental monitoring services, contact Sure-BioChem Laboratories at 888-398-7247.

1. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/spl/
2. Bolan, Nanthi, et al. "Remediation of heavy metal (loid) s contaminated soils–to mobilize or to immobilize?." Journal of hazardous materials 266 (2014): 141-166.
3. Dela Cruz, Albert Leo N. et al. “Assessment of Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals in Soils and Sediments from Three Superfund Sites.” Environmental science. Processes & impacts 16.1 (2014): 44–52. PMC. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
4. http://www.epa.gov/superfund/search-superfund-sites-where-you-live
5. Gomez, Sarah A. Saslow, et al. "A General Chemistry Assignment Analyzing Environmental Contamination for the DePue, IL, National Superfund Site."Journal of Chemical Education 92.4 (2014): 638-642.
6. Hashim, M. A., et al. "Remediation technologies for heavy metal contaminated groundwater." Journal of environmental management 92.10 (2011): 2355-2388.
7. http://www.nj.gov/dep/oqa/labcert.html


By Destiny Jolade 27 Nov, 2017

Food is one of the most significant aspects of our society today; whether we're at work or with family, food helps to nourish our mind and our bodies.  Given the importance of food in our daily lives, factors affecting food like frequent outbreaks of food-borne illnesses as well as recalls of fruits, vegetables and meats have shaken the confidence of many consumers.  In response, a growing number of consumers, restaurants and food distribution organizations have implemented policies and safeguards against further microbial outbreaks in food.  In the majority of cases,  these microbe focused practices and procedures have helped to reduce the bacterial load in many foods noticeably and as such lead to less frequent outbreaks.  Though these new methods are effective against microorganisms, they do little in the way of preventing chemical and synthetic compounds from contaminating foods.

The presence of many chemical and synthetic compounds in food is not a new occurrence and is often due to unintentional introduction through environmental, mechanical and biological vectors.  As such, many of these compounds are frequently introduced at varying stages of the production, processing, and transport cycle [2,].  Though various chemicals are often introduced during the different stages, only a handful of compounds are shown to affect consumer health.  One such example of this occurred in the 1980s as levels of a class of chemical called dioxins, which are known to affect liver function and the immune system adversely, were shown to be elevated in several types of foods [1,3].   Since the 1980s, measures focused on minimizing the levels of dioxins in foods have yielded positive outcomes regarding the levels of dioxins found in people over the years has dropped [1,2].  Tests about the levels of dioxins in people using “milk as an indicator of the human body burden, where levels of dioxins have dropped to roughly 20% of the original level over the last 30 years.” [1].  The effectiveness of these distribution centered regulatory policies of contaminants has and will continue to lead to a long-term decrease in the levels of dioxins and other related chemical contaminants in the human body.

Tandem to dioxins, per and polyfluorinated alkylated substances (PFAS) have also been detected in many food products; however, unlike dioxins, the literature on these substances isn’t robust. Its known that PFAS are standard components in industrial-grade chemicals and are notoriously challenging to degrade while being detected at every level of the environment and in humans [1]. Due to the chemical properties of these compounds, they are commonly found in consumer products to give them water, dirt and grease repellant properties [2].  As such, the half-life of PFAS is particularly long in the human body as it takes several years for the compounds to exit the human body [1,2].  The presence of PFAS in food products may pose a long-term danger as high enough levels of these compounds has been shown to damage the liver, affect reproduction and even induce cancer [2].  Concentrations of these PFAS need to be continually monitored to mitigate any long-term health risks associated with elevated levels in food.

Along with these chemical substrated, current studies on nano and microscale materials like metals and metalloids, have also yielded results that point to elevated levels of these metals and metalloids in foods [1].  It is believed that many of the components in packaging materials used during the transport of these foods migrates into the food via microorganisms[1,2].  In a recent study by Munoz et al., on contaminant accumulation in bacterial communities called biofilms, it was shown "that PFASs are not only absorbed at the biofilm’s surface, but may also be incorporated within the matrix of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS)" [3].  In short, these findings show that microorganism accumulate these compounds in their cells at levels higher than would be observed in without microbes [3].  Thus the additive effect that microorganisms have on the concentration and introduction of these compounds in foods subsequently increases the risk of the presence of these compounds.

Elevated levels of the chemical compounds are known to be detrimental to the long-term health of people who consume foods containing these chemicals.  As we've seen with the efforts to reduce dioxin levels in foods, routine quality testing of foods is the most effective way to reduce the levels of these compounds in our diet. Here at Sure-BioChem Laboratories, we recommend staying away from highly processed and prepackaged foods as they have the highest likelihood of having these chemicals being introduced into the food product.  Additionally, foods stored in containers sprayed with nonstick substances also have a chance of introducing these substances onto food.  For more information regarding chemical testing, bioburden testing or creating testing plans contact Sure-BioChem at 888-398-7247 to get your consultation today.





References


  1. BfR Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. "Contaminants in food: Identifying and assessing risks as early as possible." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2017.
  2. Mastovska, Katerina. “Modern Analysis of Chemical Contaminants in Food.”Food Safety Magazine, Feb. 2013,  www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/februarymarch-2013/modern-analysis-of-chemical-contamin... .
  3. Munoz, Gabriel, et al. "Spatio-temporal dynamics of per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and transfer to periphytic biofilm in an urban river: case-study on the River Seine."Environmental Science and Pollution Research (2016): 1-9.



By Destiny Jolade 27 Nov, 2017


Antimicrobial resistance is a growing trend that's affecting the way we both monitor and treat an increasing number of microbial infections. Over several decades, the persistent rise of these antimicrobial resistant microorganisms has spurred both the private and public sectors into finding possible methods to halt the continued spread of these resistant microbes [4]. Currently several drug resistant strains of common pathogens like Staph, Strep and E.coli continue to emerge [3,4]. Previously, as more and more of these drug resistant microbes emerged, a handful of potent antimicrobials called “antibiotics of last resort proved effective in containing the spread of these drug resistant pathogens [2].  

However, recently a strain of E.coli was found in a woman in Pennsylvania that’s resistant to colistin,  the last agent used to combat microbes that are resistant to the strongest antibiotics [2]. The discovery of this particular resistant strain of E.coli points to an increased rate of lateral gene transfer, which is the main mechanism that theses microbes gain resistance to antimicrobial compounds [3,4]. Its also been shown that random mutations contribute to the emergence of these antimicrobial resistant strains of bacteria, parasites and viruses albeit at a lower rate [3].

Though the prevalence of these drug resistant microbes remains comparatively low, decades of data show that these low levels of drug resistant microbes are liable to significantly increase moving forward [1,4]. As such, many companies and institutions in both the public and private spheres have adopted many of the preventative measures outlined by agencies like the World Health Organization (WHO) [1]. In these reports, it’s highly advised that companies and institutions, especially those in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors, have frequent and protesting protocols in place to catch any prospective antimicrobial resistant microorganisms in their infancy before they pose a greater public health risk [1,2,4].

Further outlined within these preventative measures is the increased utilization of certified testing laboratories like Sure-BioChem Laboratories to aide in the frequent testing of these companies and institutions [1]. As an industry leader Sure-BioChem Laboratories specializes in providing the highest quality microbial testing and monitoring services year-round.  Our experienced team is trained in sterility and antimicrobial efficacy testing services based on industry standards. With our commitment to quick and reliable results your company be assured of your production standards.

For additional information regarding our microbiological testing services, contact Sure-BioChem Laboratories at 888-398-7247.

References:

1."Antimicrobial Resistance." World Health Organization. N.p., Apr. 2015. Web. 08 June 2016.

2.The U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP). "First discovery in United States of colistin resistance in a human E. coli infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 May 2016. < www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160526152033.htm> .

3.Kay E, Vogel TM, Bertolla F, Nalin R, Simonet P (July 2002). "In situ transfer of antibiotic resistance genes from transgenic (transplastomic) tobacco plants to bacteria".

4.Barlow M (2009). "What antimicrobial resistance has taught us about horizontal gene transfer". Methods in Molecular Biology (Clifton, N.J.). Methods in Molecular Biology 532: 397–411


By Destiny Jolade 30 Oct, 2017

Creating a viable business decorum in the scientific and industrial manufacturing sectors often requires an area within your plant dedicated to sterile manufacturing. Decisions regarding how your clean-rooms are set up, as well as the efficacy of the clean-rooms themselves, often coincide with how productive your company’s operations are. It's no secret that attaining an optimal production ratio, while keeping quality and sterility at the forefront, significantly impacts your company’s bottom line. Here, we outline why having properly functioning clean-rooms, as well as having reliable clean-room checking mechanisms, are important for your manufacturing regime.  

Background

In recent months, several laboratories have come under regulatory scrutiny due to contamination of their products. In most of these cases, the laboratories involved were presumed to have been compliant with FDA, EPA and cGMP clean-room standards [7]. Given the marked frequency of the recent string of recalls, concerns have been raised regarding industry wide regulations which have been implemented as “metrics for evaluating products” through good manufacturing practices in the medical and industrial sectors [1]. Many industry analysts remain perplexed by these recalls given the years of significant investments that have gone into testing and clean-room technologies [6]. With these monetary and technological investments, coupled with stringent regulatory and clean-room standards, the overall prevalence of product recalls was expected to experience a significant reduction in the years to come [3]. However in recent years, the news trends points to a much different picture as “the amount of drug recall occurrences in the U.S. saw a general increase post-1998.” [1 ]
   

Though the stipulated reasons behind this rise in recalls can be attributed to many factors, recent studies have outlined two main causes that are found ubiquitously in all recalls: "quality of dosage forms" and “the quality of product not conforming to the registered specifications” [1,8]. Given that most product recalls are attributed to one or both of these circumstances, a relationship between product quality and recall frequency was established where the overall quality of consumable products is enhanced through the efficacy and availability of clean-room manufacturing stations [9]. Thus, creating a culture where clean-room sterility is up to standard provides a significant advantage to manufacturers that can effectively prevent the vast majority of product recalls that laboratories and manufacturers may face [5].
     

Solution           

Currently, there are systems in place that are co-dependent on utilizing properly verified sterile laboratory clean-rooms[3,4]. These systems can only be properly implemented when these clean-rooms are routinely checked and verified by accredited testing laboratories that specialize in clean-room certifications. Unfortunately, many manufacturers and laboratories choose to forgo proper clean-room certification as they assume the need is not there[7]. Notwithstanding, more and more studies are being published with “advanced molecular methods” that show “the microbial bioburden... of clean-rooms and other low-biomass environments” is increasingly diversifying despite utilization of standard in-house cleaning methodologies [2,4,5,8]. The current nature of the body of evidence distinctly shows the in-disposable nature of having clean-rooms certified by accredited laboratories [1].

Through proper implementation of current industry standards, coupled with proper clean-room certifications by accredited laboratories, laboratories and manufacturers will be able to observed a marked reduction in overall recall prevalence[1,5]. The current body of evidence, accompanied with the significant financial investments, provides industry producers a greater confidence with regards to their products that equates to an increase in “quality of dosage forms” and “the quality of product not conforming to the registered specifications” [1]

At the forefront of clean-room certifications, Sure-BioChem Laboratories is an approved clean-room performance testing contractor that complies with all industry standards and is dedicated to ensuring successful certification outcomes. Our certification team has experience qualifying clean-rooms of all classes and applications. Experienced in scientific, industrial and ISO 3 to ISO 9 protocols, Sure-BioChem Laboratories' expertise in a wide variety of clean-room applications makes us a preferred source for competent clean-room certification in accordance to ISO 14644-1 and 2 specifications. Our experienced team offers testing and certification of all classifications of ISO clean-rooms and anterooms including particle counting, HEPA filter integrity testing, airflow volume/velocity, room pressurization, temperature and humidity monitoring.

     
Conclusion
           
Attaining a verifiable standard of clean-room sterility is often paramount to the success of any industrial and scientific manufacturing endeavor. Having your clean-room accredited by a verified laboratory significantly reduces the risk to your product and company. Also, by keeping up with you clean-room accreditation, your company will be able to detect and rectify any underlying problems that my stem from clean-room sterility problems. For additional information regarding your clean-room sterility contact Sure-BioChem Laboratories at info@surebiochem.com for your clean-room consultation today.

 
REFERENCES

Cheah, Eng Tuck, Wen Li Chan, and Corinne Lin Lin Chieng. "The corporate social responsibility of pharmaceutical product recalls: An empirical examination of US and UK markets."Journal of Business Ethics4 (2007): 427-449.

Cooper, Moogega, et al. "Comparison of innovative molecular approaches and standard spore assays for assessment of surface cleanliness." Applied and environmental microbiology15 (2011): 5438-5444.

El-Nakeeb, M. A., A. M. Khalil, and A. F. Gasser. "Microbiological studies on bacterial isolates from penicillins filling cleanroom." New Egyptian Journal of Microbiology1 (2014): 87-110

La Duc, Myron T., et al. "Comprehensive census of bacteria in clean rooms by using DNA microarray and cloning methods." Applied and environmental microbiology20 (2009): 6559-6567.

La Duc, Myron T., et al. "Isolation and characterization of bacteria capable of tolerating the extreme conditions of clean room environments." Applied and environmental microbiology8 (2007): 2600-2611.

Nagarkar, Parag P., Satish D. Ravetkar, and Milind G. Watve. "Oligophilic bacteria as tools to monitor aseptic pharmaceutical production units." Applied and environmental microbiology3 (2001): 1371-1374.

Rieser, Gernot, Siegfried Scherer, and Mareike Wenning. "Naumannella halotolerans gen. nov., sp. nov., a Gram-positive coccus of the family Propionibacteriaceae isolated from a pharmaceutical clean room and from food." International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiologyPt 12 (2012): 3042-3048.

Seiler, Herbert, Mareike Wenning, and Siegfried Scherer. "Domibacillus robiginosus gen. nov., sp. nov., isolated from a pharmaceutical clean room." International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology (2012): ijs-0.
Wu G. F., Liu X. H. (2007).


By Destiny Jolade 27 Oct, 2017

The enteric pathogen S. typhimurium has a phage-type known as DT104, which is associated with an epidemiology that is extensive and virulent. It was characterised about 30 years ago, and has spread to nearly all areas of the earth since then (2). S. typhimurium DT104 was found to have become resistant to multiple antibiotics in 1972 (2). This strain, now known as MDR-DT104, acquired the relevant mutation through the integration of an additional 43-kilobase genomic island (SGI1) into its genetic profile (3). In 1975, an alternative strain of DT104 also acquired multi-drug resistance in Thailand via different mechanisms (2). SGI1 confers resistance to a specific subset of antibiotics: sulphonamide-types, as well as tetracycline, streptomycin, chloramphenicol and ampicillin (3). However, some MDR-DT104 strains isolated in Britain were found to have added resistance to trimethoprim, (13%) ciprofloxacin (16%) or both (2%) to their anti-drug arsenal (1). In addition, some studies have reported evidence of resistance to ertapenem and ceftriaxone in some isolates (4). Ceftriaxone resistance may be conferred via transfer of the Incl1 plasmid, whereas enzymes such as IMP-4, IMP-13 and KPC-2 (that originate from E. coli) may be required to break down carbapenems (4). On the other hand, few studies have found these enzymes in any S. typhimurium phage-types (4).

MDR-DT104 is thought to have originated in Europe, where it was transmitted several times to a number of different countries therein. It then spread to Japan and to the U.S. in two separate transmission incidents, which may explain how it is also now present in Taiwan and Canada (2). However, other scientists conclude that MDR-DT104 actually originated in Southeast Asia, based on the presence of the rare ‘resistance’ genes tetG and floR (3). DT104 infects livestock such as cattle and poultry, and, subsequently, causes disease in the humans who consume them (1). The risk of drug-resistant salmonellosis is affected by several factors, including the handling of raw meat, consuming cheese made from unpasteurized milk, eating undercooked meat and (mostly in cases involving children) exposure to sand-pits while playing (1,5). The use of proton-pump inhibiting drugs and the antibiotics as listed above may also contribute to the risk of infection (2). MDR-DT104 is associated with several outbreaks among livestock in a number of countries, from the Republic of Ireland to the Philippines (2). It is also related to approximately 20,000 hospital visits and hundreds of deaths per year in the United States (2).

Historically, MDR-DT104 outbreaks have been addressed or prevented through treatment with quinolone-type antibiotics (1). However, evidence of some strains of the phage-type that have also acquired resistance to these drugs has surfaced (7). Quinolone-resistant DT104 (e.g. DT104B) strains are linked to new outbreaks with high mortality rates (6). A study of the subproteome of a clinical strain, DT104B-Se20, found seven proteins that were associated with this resistance, including familiar examples such as Omp subtypes (e.g. OmpD and OmpX) as well as the newly-discovered agent of resistance MipA (6). (Altered OmpD expression levels are also associated with carbapenem resistance (4). OmpC was also associated with the metabolic adaptations required for quinolone resistance, as were CheB, CheM, SodA and Fur (6). The clinical strain was also associated with certain proteins involved in lipopolysaccharide production (e.g. LptA and RfbF) (6). These interesting findings may form the basis for new research leading to new therapeutics or preventatives for infection with quinolone-resistant MDR-DT104.

References:

1. Threlfall EJ. Epidemic Salmonella typhimurium DT 104—a truly international multiresistant clone. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. 2000;46(1):7-10.

2. Leekitcharoenphon P, Hendriksen RS, Le Hello S, et al. Global Genomic Epidemiology of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium DT104. Applied and environmental microbiology. 2016;82(8):2516-2526.

3. Mulvey MR, Boyd DA, Olson AB, Doublet B, Cloeckaert A. The genetics of Salmonella genomic island 1. Microbes and Infection. 2006;8(7):1915-1922.

4. Su LH, Wu TL, Chiu CH. Development of carbapenem resistance during therapy for non-typhoid Salmonella infection. Clinical microbiology and infection : the official publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. 2012;18(4):E91-94.

5. Doorduyn Y, Van Den Brandhof WE, Van Duynhoven YT, Wannet WJ, Van Pelt W. Risk factors for Salmonella Enteritidis and Typhimurium (DT104 and non-DT104) infections in The Netherlands: predominant roles for raw eggs in Enteritidis and sandboxes in Typhimurium infections. Epidemiology and infection. 2006;134(3):617-626.

6. Correia S, Hebraud M, Chafsey I, et al. Impacts of experimentally induced and clinically acquired quinolone resistance on the membrane and intracellular subproteomes of Salmonella Typhimurium DT104B. Journal of proteomics. 2016.

7. Voetsch AC, Van Gilder TJ, Angulo FJ, et al. FoodNet Estimate of the Burden of Illness Caused by Nontyphoidal Salmonella Infections in the United States. Clinical Infectious Diseases.         2004;38(Supplement 3):S127-S134.


By Destiny Jolade 27 Oct, 2017

Microorganisms often garner significant attention within the pharmaceutical and biotech industries; however, the influence of these microbes is routinely experienced by everyone. A commonly overlooked household object where microbes often proliferate unchallenged is with cloth towels. As part of our daily routine, we shower and bathe with little concern to the fact that cloth towels, specifically washing towels, are some of the most microbe laden objects in our homes.

Studies into this microbial vector, have yielded impressive results from the use of a technique called, bioburden testing. With this test, researchers were able to analyze the number and types of organisms present in household bathing towels. Results from the tests revealed that the “damp environment of the average bathroom allows germs on towels to thrive” [1,2]. One of the major conclusions the study highlighted noted that household items, like towels, often act as bacterial reservoirs that enhance the growth of microbes. From these findings, the researchers also pointed out that when bathroom towels are consistently stored in areas with high moisture, not only does it promote bacterial growth but also encourages the growth of specific bacteria.

From the study, it was understood that one type of bacteria that is specifically promoted when bath towels are stored in high moisture areas are fecal coliform bacteria. These fecal coliform bacteria are a common part of the natural microbial ecosystem called the microbiota; however, they often facilitate the growth of pathogenic microbes like Escherichia coli, otherwise known as E. coli [2]. Further characterization of these fecal coliform bacteria shows that other pathogenic bacteria like Citrobacter and Enterobacter are also present in household towels. The diversity of these pathogenic bacteria found in household towels is intensified as it was also noted that 89% of kitchen towels also tested positive for E. coli [1].

The prevalence of these pathogenic fecal coliform bacteria presents a clear threat to homeowners and other occupants and increases the chances of illnesses like food poisoning and diarrhea [2]. However, these microorganisms are most threatening to young children and the elderly as they are susceptible to infections and other illnesses due to their less robust immune systems [1]. Additionally, family pets can be at risk for these illnesses as the pathogens responsible for the illnesses can be passed on from person to pet.

Though towels can represent a risk regarding health and well-being, properly cleaning your towels on a regular basis significantly reduces the risk of illness. At Sure-BioChem Laboratories, we recommend washing your towels every four to five days. We also advise that when washing your towels, to wash them in a high-temperature washing cycle to ensure that all the microorganisms are expunged. For more information regarding fecal coliform bacteria, bioburden testing and other microbial tests contact Sure-BioChem at 888-398-7247 to get your consultation today.

References

1. Dovey, Dana. "The Gross Truth About Bath Towels."Medical Daily. Newsweek, 04 Oct. 2016. Web. 18 July 2017.

2. Sifuentes, Laura Y., et al. "Microbial contamination of hospital reusable cleaning towels." American journal of infection control 41.10 (2013): 912-915.


By Destiny Jolade 04 Dec, 2017
Outbreaks can mean months of investigation for the company involved, the FDA, CDC and other public health departments. It can mean hundreds of recalls on product and a damaged company name from growing distrust. A 2014 mold outbreak resulted in the fatality of a 29-week-old infant. A product recall in over 25 states across the United States followed. The premature infant experienced immune system trouble and the hospital attempted to remedy the issue by treating the child with a probiotic.

Probiotics can be found in yogurt, capsule, or powder form and is intended to flood the consumer’s large intestine, or colon, with healthy bacteria over time. The harmless bacteria from these sources are valuable because they occupy space and nutrients, which otherwise a harmful microbe could nest in. Being preterm, the infant lacked both a fully functioning immune system and precious gut microbes to prevent the mold’s spread.

The mold, Rhizopus Orgzae, is an opportunistic fungus that takes residence is dead matter. Upon surgical investigation, the hospital found the infant’s bowel was necrotized, which happens when cells die. The bowl was heavily inhabited by the fungus, which caused mucormycosis. Mucormycosis is a rare, acute infection caused by fungus of the order Mucorales. Symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea and fever (1).

These is little to be done in sensitive cases where patients have a compromised immune system. The irreplaceable loss of a child cannot be reversed nor could it be foreseen. Outbreaks like this highlight the importance of utilizing numerous resources before shipping products. Outbreaks are preventable with the right education and resources. Good Manufacturing Practices, like what Sure-BioChem promotes, lessens the risk for financial and emotion expenses that could punch holes in a company. Take advantage of SBL’s Environmental Monitoring to identify any molds, viruses, or bacteria in your products or request Cleanroom Training where SBL can assist you in creating efficient philosophies for your company to stick by.

References
1. http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/mucormycosis/
By Destiny Jolade 01 Dec, 2017

In 1980, the EPA established the Superfund program in response to heightened levels of unregulated toxic dumping grounds near and around residential zones [4,7]. Through the Superfund program, the EPA is tasked with the assessment, mitigation and remediation of these sites, which often pose a public health risk to the surrounding communities due to the hazardous compounds that are associated with these sites. Although these site are reclaimed through remediation, many studies have shown that toxic compounds often have a propensity to leach into the soil and local groundwater sources long after remediation practices are finished. [5].
Oftentimes, Superfund sites are characterized by contamination of substances such as arsenic, lead, mercury, benzene, cadmium, vinyl chloride, trichloroethylene, free radicals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [3]. Consequently, through the diversity of potential contaminants, there can be differentiation in the methods of action of remediation techniques [1,3]. Selection of remediation techniques used in Superfund sites “can be a challenging task due to the uncertainty in assessment of level of contamination, high costs of remediation and the collateral impacts of the technique on the environment.” [6]. Although remediation techniques are numerous and often require specialized analysis for their implementation, the majority of remediation techniques often fit into five main categories:

(i) complete or substantial destruction/degradation of the pollutants, (ii) extraction of pollutants for further treatment or disposal, (iii) stabilization of pollutants in forms less mobile or toxic, (iv) separation of non-contaminated materials and their recycling from polluted materials that require further treatment and (v) containment of the polluted material to restrict exposure of the wider environment. [6].


Though the processes and technologies behind Superfund site remediation are continually improving, it is not uncommon to have the residual contaminants in the air, soil and water of surrounding communities after the the remediation processes are complete.
In the tri-state area, there are a shocking number of Superfund sites collectively totaling about 206 as of 2016. The breakdown of these sites follows with there being 100+ in New Jersey, 90+ in Pennsylvania and 16 in Delaware. Though many of these Superfund sites may have been cleared for reuse within the larger community, subsequent studies have shown that although levels of contaminants in soil “‘become less bioavailable, their total concentration in soils remains unchanged” [2]. Furthermore, complete removal of these contaminants is often precipitated through natural processes from plants; however, remediation in urban environments that have a noticeable absence of active plant life or have been shown to be “subject to leaching thereby causing groundwater contamination.” [2].
Given the continued rise of urbanization globally and nationally, many of these remediated Superfund sites often lie in areas that are ideal for future construction projects. As a result, prospective developers may not know of the health risks associated with residual contamination from these contaminated sites. Consequently, it is recommended as a matter of due diligence that environmental monitoring and testing be performed on all existing and planned development sites by certified testing laboratories like Sure-Biochem Laboratories. Sure-BioChem Laboratories specializes in providing the highest quality environmental testing and monitoring services year-round. Our experienced team is trained in producing verifiable testing services for for lead, manganese, arsenic, mercury and volatile organics in remediated or contaminated sites.


For additional information regarding our environmental monitoring services, contact Sure-BioChem Laboratories at 888-398-7247.

1. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/spl/
2. Bolan, Nanthi, et al. "Remediation of heavy metal (loid) s contaminated soils–to mobilize or to immobilize?." Journal of hazardous materials 266 (2014): 141-166.
3. Dela Cruz, Albert Leo N. et al. “Assessment of Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals in Soils and Sediments from Three Superfund Sites.” Environmental science. Processes & impacts 16.1 (2014): 44–52. PMC. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
4. http://www.epa.gov/superfund/search-superfund-sites-where-you-live
5. Gomez, Sarah A. Saslow, et al. "A General Chemistry Assignment Analyzing Environmental Contamination for the DePue, IL, National Superfund Site."Journal of Chemical Education 92.4 (2014): 638-642.
6. Hashim, M. A., et al. "Remediation technologies for heavy metal contaminated groundwater." Journal of environmental management 92.10 (2011): 2355-2388.
7. http://www.nj.gov/dep/oqa/labcert.html


By Destiny Jolade 27 Nov, 2017

Food is one of the most significant aspects of our society today; whether we're at work or with family, food helps to nourish our mind and our bodies.  Given the importance of food in our daily lives, factors affecting food like frequent outbreaks of food-borne illnesses as well as recalls of fruits, vegetables and meats have shaken the confidence of many consumers.  In response, a growing number of consumers, restaurants and food distribution organizations have implemented policies and safeguards against further microbial outbreaks in food.  In the majority of cases,  these microbe focused practices and procedures have helped to reduce the bacterial load in many foods noticeably and as such lead to less frequent outbreaks.  Though these new methods are effective against microorganisms, they do little in the way of preventing chemical and synthetic compounds from contaminating foods.

The presence of many chemical and synthetic compounds in food is not a new occurrence and is often due to unintentional introduction through environmental, mechanical and biological vectors.  As such, many of these compounds are frequently introduced at varying stages of the production, processing, and transport cycle [2,].  Though various chemicals are often introduced during the different stages, only a handful of compounds are shown to affect consumer health.  One such example of this occurred in the 1980s as levels of a class of chemical called dioxins, which are known to affect liver function and the immune system adversely, were shown to be elevated in several types of foods [1,3].   Since the 1980s, measures focused on minimizing the levels of dioxins in foods have yielded positive outcomes regarding the levels of dioxins found in people over the years has dropped [1,2].  Tests about the levels of dioxins in people using “milk as an indicator of the human body burden, where levels of dioxins have dropped to roughly 20% of the original level over the last 30 years.” [1].  The effectiveness of these distribution centered regulatory policies of contaminants has and will continue to lead to a long-term decrease in the levels of dioxins and other related chemical contaminants in the human body.

Tandem to dioxins, per and polyfluorinated alkylated substances (PFAS) have also been detected in many food products; however, unlike dioxins, the literature on these substances isn’t robust. Its known that PFAS are standard components in industrial-grade chemicals and are notoriously challenging to degrade while being detected at every level of the environment and in humans [1]. Due to the chemical properties of these compounds, they are commonly found in consumer products to give them water, dirt and grease repellant properties [2].  As such, the half-life of PFAS is particularly long in the human body as it takes several years for the compounds to exit the human body [1,2].  The presence of PFAS in food products may pose a long-term danger as high enough levels of these compounds has been shown to damage the liver, affect reproduction and even induce cancer [2].  Concentrations of these PFAS need to be continually monitored to mitigate any long-term health risks associated with elevated levels in food.

Along with these chemical substrated, current studies on nano and microscale materials like metals and metalloids, have also yielded results that point to elevated levels of these metals and metalloids in foods [1].  It is believed that many of the components in packaging materials used during the transport of these foods migrates into the food via microorganisms[1,2].  In a recent study by Munoz et al., on contaminant accumulation in bacterial communities called biofilms, it was shown "that PFASs are not only absorbed at the biofilm’s surface, but may also be incorporated within the matrix of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS)" [3].  In short, these findings show that microorganism accumulate these compounds in their cells at levels higher than would be observed in without microbes [3].  Thus the additive effect that microorganisms have on the concentration and introduction of these compounds in foods subsequently increases the risk of the presence of these compounds.

Elevated levels of the chemical compounds are known to be detrimental to the long-term health of people who consume foods containing these chemicals.  As we've seen with the efforts to reduce dioxin levels in foods, routine quality testing of foods is the most effective way to reduce the levels of these compounds in our diet. Here at Sure-BioChem Laboratories, we recommend staying away from highly processed and prepackaged foods as they have the highest likelihood of having these chemicals being introduced into the food product.  Additionally, foods stored in containers sprayed with nonstick substances also have a chance of introducing these substances onto food.  For more information regarding chemical testing, bioburden testing or creating testing plans contact Sure-BioChem at 888-398-7247 to get your consultation today.





References


  1. BfR Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. "Contaminants in food: Identifying and assessing risks as early as possible." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2017.
  2. Mastovska, Katerina. “Modern Analysis of Chemical Contaminants in Food.”Food Safety Magazine, Feb. 2013,  www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/februarymarch-2013/modern-analysis-of-chemical-contamin... .
  3. Munoz, Gabriel, et al. "Spatio-temporal dynamics of per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and transfer to periphytic biofilm in an urban river: case-study on the River Seine."Environmental Science and Pollution Research (2016): 1-9.



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