It is imperative to maintain hand hygiene and sterile conditions at hospitals, toilets, kitchens, child care centers, and at home for the removal of germs to avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. Unclean kitchen, toilets and the ambience you breathe in, is dominated with germs like C. difficile, Salmonella, E. coli O157, norovirus, etc. It can get onto hands after people use the toilet or change a diaper, or while handling raw meats that have several amounts of animal poop on them. These harmful germs in our surroundings cause various pernicious diseases such as diarrhoea, respiratory infections like adenovirus and hand-foot-mouth disease, etc. A single gram of human feces is about the weight of a paper clip, but can contain one trillion germs.
People repeatedly touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick. Also, germs from unclean hands can get into foods and drinks, while preparing or consuming them, which can make people sick. In fact, germs can be transferred to other objects, like handrails, table tops, or toys, and then transferred to another person’s hands. But frequent hand washing and cleaning our surroundings with an antiseptic soap or lotion helps to prevent infections. Maintaining sterile conditions with an antiseptic soap or lotion reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrhoea by 31%, diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58% and respiratory illnesses, like cold, nausea, etc., in the general population by 16-21%.
But is the antiseptic soap or lotion you use of good quality? Each soap or lotion was found to contain unique marker compounds and odor signatures which would be used for identification purposes.
EST Inc.’s zNose® is an advanced electronic sniffer which provides the ability to ensure workers adhere to hygienic standards. It is characterized by high speed, sensitivity, portability, precision, and accuracy needed for cost-effective quality control measurements. Such measurements, are based upon well-known chromatographic methods and can easily be validated by independent laboratory testing. A ‘good’ aroma as determined by measurements can be quantified in near real time to ensure hygienic procedures are followed. The ‘good’ chemical signature once defined, allows for objective and quantitative quality control testing with other zNose® analyzers integrated into the production process.
Samples of antiseptic soap and cleaning lotion were taken from a U.S-based chemical manufacturing company. The antiseptic soap contained the active ingredient chloroxylenol (0.5%) as well as other ingredients such as potassium tallate, sodium lauryl sulphate, potassium cocoate, Cocamide DEA, Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium EDTA, sodium chloride and proprietary fragrance chemicals. The cleaning lotion used the same active ingredient together with Styrene-acrylates copolymer, and peach fragrance producing chemicals.
The chemistry of headspace vapors from antiseptic soap and lotion was tested by placing approximately 10 grams of each into a septa-sealed 40 mL vials. Headspace vapors were withdrawn and tested by piercing the septa with a needle attached to the inlet of the zNose®.
Result of Analyzing Chemistry Headspace Vapors from Antiseptic Soap & Lotion:
Seven major peaks corresponding to the seven major chemical components of the headspace vapors were identified, while testing antiseptic soap. The lotion aroma was dominated by one major peak or compound, which had an index of 1044 and a concentration approximately 20 times higher than that of the soap.
Hence, zNose® quantitatively measure these distinctive aromas in a fast and efficient manner. It uses ultra-fast gas chromatography and SAW detector to give lightening fast results with accuracy and precision. It helps in ensuring the hygienic conditions at hospitals or food preparation facilities where sterile conditions must be maintained.