Food Safety, Packaging and Fireflies
Written by Albert Greenhut
Firefly light isn’t just something to fascinate a child on a warm summer evening, there are real uses for it, besides for the Fireflies themselves. Before electricity, of course, firefly light had many uses. I’ve heard people around the world tell stories about using fireflies at night for reading, for biking and for walking along forest paths. But scientific discoveries about the chemistry behind firefly bioluminescence have paved the way for even wider practical applications. Fireflies’ light-producing talent has provided invaluable tools for improving public health, for facilitating innovative research, and for advancing medical knowledge.
The food industry has long used fireflies’ light reaction to detect good food gone bad — that is, food that’s contaminated by noxious bacteria and thus unsafe for human consumption. Test kits containing firefly luciferase and luciferin are used to detect the presence of ATP, a compound that’s found in all living cells; this includes any live microbes like salmonella or E. coli that might be lurking in our food. When firefly luciferase and luciferin are added, the ATP from these microbial contaminants produces visible light. The more ATP, the brighter the light, so the intensity of luminescence even reveals how many bacteria are present. Starting in the 1960s, this bioluminescent test has been able to detect even tiny amounts of microbial contamination, using very sensitive instruments to measure light production. This firefly-inspired test provides results more quickly than previous methods; it requires mere minutes instead of the days needed to detect contaminated food by growing bacterial cultures. This handy bioluminescent ATP assay, which now employs synthetic luciferase, is still widely used to ensure food safety by detecting microbial contamination in milk, soft drinks, meat and other commodities.
At Purestat we are dedicated to food packaging. We make a variety of FDA bags for lobsters, MRE’s, and other food and medical applications. We are fully vertically integrated allowing us to ensure that product is safe for the foodstuffs going in. High technology, just not as flashy as fireflies.
Original or Clever Copy – Art of Copying
Written by Albert Greenhut
They often say that copying is the purest form of flattery. Maybe with a hairstyle, fashion design or architectural movement, but its not such a compliment when it happens to a major piece of art, a bearing or other key automotive or aerospace component or even packaging. We depend on things actually being what they are supposed to be, and perform the way that we expect.
Over the years there have been many instances of clever forgeries, fooling experts. A famous example stands in the Getty Museum. The Getty Museum has a reputation in purchasing art pieces that sometimes have dubious histories, and the Kouros, purchased in 1985 for $7 million may fall into that category. Initially, the work was deemed authentic based on analysis of the marble, but it has since been proven that it is possible to age stone by artificial methods, throwing the authenticity of the piece into question. Several art historians have raised further questions that something does not seem right about the piece partly due to its style, which blends characteristics from several other known kouroi as well as inaccuracies in the symmetry of the piece and sculpting methods. The Getty has done other tests, but most scholars today believe the work to be a forgery. The sculpture is still on exhibit in the Getty with the label, “Greek, about 530 B.C., or modern forgery.”
In 1874, the National Gallery purchased two works attributed to Italian painter Sandro Botticelli, well before the advent of modern authentication methods. One of these paintings, Venus and Mars turned out to be authentic and is one of the museum’s most prized paintings. Yet the other, thought at the time to be a companion painting to Venus and Mars, was actually painted by a follower in the style of the master, rather than by Botticelli himself. While still skillfully executed, the work doesn’t have the value or the prestige afforded to Botticelli’s work. Ironically, the museum paid more for the fake than for the real thing.
So what difference does it make, a beautiful painting is still beautiful. However, in regards to items that we depend to function properly, a copy may look similar, but it can end there. When we depend on performance of a mechanical part, or ESD protective packaging, we need originals, because we count on the performance to protect us, and to protect our electronic components, parts, assemblies and systems. Failure in that protection can result in loss or failure of the items the packaging was designed to protect. No matter what we pay, when we consider what we are protecting the risk of failure is not worth it.
We invite you to go to Purestat website to learn more about the real thing. We have been making conductive packaging for decades, being the leader in permanent ESD packaging products. Others claim to be as good, but BlackStat™ remains the original. Don’t be fooled by clever copies, or get duped into paying more for the copy than the original. At Purestat, we remain vertically integrated and producing the highest quality ESD packaging originals – PureStat™ and BlacStat™.
Electronic Assemblies and Cleanrooms
Written by Albert Greenhut
Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s the cleanest rooms in the world were operating theaters in hospitals. These operating theaters or rooms needed to also be ESD safe, because of the use of ether, which was highly flammable. They also needed to be clean, in an effort to control bacteria and biological contamination. Dust was not a problem, but microbes were. In electronics, microbes are a problem (we will discuss this in a later blog) but the main focus was dust. Dust tends to have both pH (seldom is dust pH neutral) and often the ability to hydrate or have some ability to conduct an electrical charge. In the case of hydration due to humidity, the particles can actively contaminate the parts that they are on, as well as conduct electricity (due to the
A clean room (or cleanroom) is an enclosed space in which airborne particulates, contaminants, and pollutants are kept within strict limits. In industry, clean rooms are used in the manufacture and servicing of hardware such as integrated circuits (IC’s) and hard drive’s and are absolutely required in the manufacture of wafers and certain class 0 devices and aerospace components. In biotechnology and medicine, clean rooms are used when it is necessary to ensure an environment free of bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens. In addition, the temperature and humidity may be controlled.
Clean room specifications for particulate matter (such as dust) are defined according to the maximum allowable particle diameter, and also according to the maximum allowable number of particles per unit volume (usually cubic meters). For non-particulate contaminants, the maximum allowable density in terms of microbes per cubic meter, or molecule’s per cubic meter, is specified. Four fundamental rules apply to clean rooms. First, contaminants must not be introduced into the controlled environment from the outside. Second, any equipment within the controlled environment must not generate contaminants (for example as a result of friction, oil contamination, chemical reactions, or biological processes). Third, contaminants must not be allowed to accumulate in the controlled environment. Fourth, existing contaminants must be eliminated to the greatest extent possible, and as rapidly as possible.
In the United States, Federal Standard 209E (FED-STD-209E) was used until the end of November 2001 to define the requirements for clean rooms. On November 29, 2001, these standards were superseded by the publication of ISO specification 14644-1.
Purestat continues to be a leading manufacturer of ESD and FDA plastic films, laminates, and bags. We are a vertical manufacturer, manufacturing our own film, having in-house laminations for the various shielding and barrier structures that we have designed and manufacture and we have a full spectrum converting operation (bag making). Our bar making is standard industrial clean where we can do bottom seals, side seals, flat, gusset, zipper and tape and lip. We also can hand make bags, but we are truly proud of our certified class 100 hard wall cleanroom and our several softwall cleanrooms. Let us know what your plastic film or bags requirements are, chances are we can make it – www.Purestat.com
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