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Controlling Microbial Contamination

SpecialChem / Jul 30, 2003

Microorganisms are ubiquitous in the environment. Many of them have simple requirements for growth, which can be met by a range of waterborne surface coatings in their wet state. Typical microorganisms isolated from paints or paint-related materials are listed in Table 1. Spoilage of such products, which can go unnoticed until the paint reaches the consumer, can result in a significant economic loss to the manufacturer. The use of biocides is recommended to maintain the microbiological quality of a product and to protect it against contamination. However, with the current trend away from heavy metals and phenolic-based biocides to more environmentally acceptable ones, manufacturers may find that the use of biocides alone may not prevent the paint from becoming spoiled. If paints spoil in spite of the use of biocides, then the technical knowledge of the biocide manufacturer as well as the effectiveness of the biocide may be questioned. In fact, the issue is not the effectiveness, but the nature of these current biocides, which happen to degrade quickly in the environment.

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