Have you walked past a pond, river or lake and noticed a greenish slimy substance floating on the surface of the water? Did you ever wonder what that substance was which was surely polluting the water? Well, that slimy substance is called a biofilm and what is a biofilm? Biofilms are a collection of microorganisms secreted together by a slime layer that forms when in contact with water. These biofilms welcome bacteria and molds to join their slime fest. The problem with biofilms are they are particularly resistant to biocides that are designed to destroy bacteria.
Picture the first pioneers that settled in the Americas. The first colonies of the Americas only were able to survive and grow because they stuck together for survival against the external elements of harsh winters and opposing enemies. Biofilms work on the same concept of safety in numbers. Biofilms are compromised of multiple bacterial organisms that communicate and work together to substain a growing community while at the same time fending off external attacks. The extracellular martix and outer layer of the slime act as a fortress wall against antibiotics and biocides. The biocides and antibiotics may destroy the outlier bacteria cells but cannot successfully penetrate the fort wall and destroy the colony of organisms within.
Vital Oxide works differently than the rest of the biocides as its chemical structure is such that it can successfully knock down the cell wall protecting the organisms. Each cell wall depends on proteins to form their walls. In order to make protein, the cell produces amino acids (RNA) which act as building blocks for the protein. Vital Oxide can alter the amino acids in the cell. By doing this, Vital Oxide deprives the protein of its building blocks and the cell wall crumbles. The organism within the cell wall then dies.
The oxidizer biocide within Vital Oxide is chlorine dioxide. Chlorine Dioxide is more effective than biocide chemicals such as ozone and chlorine. Both ozone and chlorine are consumed by other organic compounds whereas chlorine dioxide is not. There are very few compounds that are reactive with chlorine dioxide making this chemical compound much more selective. Other biocides may be able to kill off free-floating bacteria but they are unable to prevent the bacteria within the colony from mutating and building up resistance. Chlorine dioxide chemically alters the cell preventing it from community with other cells and mutating. This is why Vital Oxide works against biofilms more effectively than other biocides.
“Chlorine Dioxide.” Water Treatment Solutions: Lenntech. Accessed September 22, 2014.