Peroxyacetic acid, Peracetic acid, or PAA as it is commonly known, is a strong oxidising agent with excellent disinfectant properties. PAA is an organic acid with an acrid odour, represented by the formula CH3CO3H.
Peracetic acid is a common disinfection widely used in the food and beverage market and in the healthcare industry. A more powerful oxidizing agent than its chlorine counterparts, PAA has become increasingly popular since it was first registered as an antimicrobial substance in 1985.
As with all disinfectants, monitoring of residuals and dosing is important to ensure that levels are not too high or low. However, unlike other common sanitizers, it is effective at weakly acidic pH levels and its efficacy is not greatly impacted by temperature.
Peracetic acid (PAA) is described as an efficient “broad spectrum biocidal agent”. This means that it will effectively kill the majority of bacteria, including E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella which all cause food poisoning/gastrointestinal illnesses, and pseudomonas which can cause chest and blood infections.
Just like chlorine, PAA is an oxidizing agent, and works as a disinfectant by damaging the cell walls of microorganisms that are present in the water. Once the cell wall is damaged, the bacteria will die, and so no longer pose a threat to human/animal health.
PAA is widely used as a disinfectant across the food and beverage industry, including for dairy, meat, poultry, brewing and bottling applications.
A relatively expensive sanitizer, PAA is popular due to reduced levels of disinfection by-products (DBP) because it breaks down into food-safe and environmentally friendly residues. PAA is effective in reducing the microbial load of wash water and reducing cross-contamination in food and beverage products.
PAA is a disinfectant used to kill harmful bacteria from drinking water streams. It produces fewer harmful DBPs than its chlorine counterpart.
Dosing control is critical in drinking water to ensure that the water has been effectively ‘cleaned’ but is not overdosed, posing potential danger, as well as affecting the taste of the final product.
PAA is used in a similar way to chlorine to help with debulking sludge in wastewater, as well as an effective disinfectant and odour control agent. For wastewater applications, dosing control is vital to protect aquatic life and the environment.
PAA is used in some laundry detergents as a bleaching agent. As it is a more effective bleaching agent than hydrogen peroxide, the peroxide is converted to PAA using a catalyst to enhance the cleaning power of the detergent during the wash.
Test methods for PAA include test strips, titration, photometers and offsite laboratory testing. Kemio is the next generation test kit from Palintest, using amperometry to deliver rapid, repeatable and reliable results. Suitable for all users and all sample types; Kemio helps improve traceability and safety. To find out more visit the Kemio product page.
PAA is an effective and quick disinfectant. It targets a vast range of bacteria, fungi, and spores. It also does not cause harmful DBP.
The by-products of PAA are acetic acid and water, neither of which are harmful to the environment or to health.
This is dependent on the application for which you are using the PAA as a sanitizer. Factors to consider include the organic matter and the contact time. Levels can range from as low as 10 mg/L to over 2000 mg/L. Contact your local regulator for more information.
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