by John Coetzee on 30/10/12 at 8:00 am
The potent cleaning ability of the bacterial micro-organism – Bacillus subtilis – was discovered by chance during the Second World War. The German military machine was at the peak of its power yet countless soldiers were dying in Africa, and it wasn’t the enemy killing them.
Men by their thousands were falling victim to dysentery, a deadly disease caused by pathogenic bacteria found in infected food and water. Baffled, the German high command sent out a contingent of experts, from scientists to biochemists, to investigate the high mortality rate.
Once in Africa, they closely scrutinised the native Arabs and discovered that although they also contracted dysentery, they weren’t dying from it. At the first sign of diarrhea, the Arabs would do something quite bizarre: they would immediately begin following around a horse or camel until it dropped its dung. Then, the affected Arab would pick up the warm dung droppings, squeeze out the juices, and quickly gulp it down. Literally
within hours, they were back on the road to health.
It was found that the dung was teeming with a powerful micro-organism that was so strong it practically cannibalised all harmful micro-organisms in the human body. Decades later, the organism, today known as Bacillus subtilis, remains one of the most beneficial of all health-promoting and immune-stimulating organisms. Being the only organism that produces all four enzymes – Amylase, Price, Protea and Celsus – it’s also a potent cleaning product that effectively eats away waste.
To understand how any cleaning product works we must understand what dirt is, or rather what it is comprised of. Dirt is actually made up of layers of fine films which comprise of fats, oils and grease (FOG), bacteria, fungi, dust mites, non-organic material and other organic micro-organisms. These films are bonded to each other and to the surface by amino and fatty acids. FOG is a combination of plant and animal fats known as lipids as well as mineral oil products which are all organic in origin. The method used in most cleaning solutions is to emulsify FOG, which is to put it into an emulsion or solution in order to be able to relocate the FOG elsewhere through rinsing. The primary function of cleaning is to reduce dirt, dust, bacteria and moulds from surfaces.
When you use over-the-counter chemicals to clean something, all you are basically doing is shifting dirt back and forth because the dirt is not actually being broken down. Think of Bacillus subtilis as a united army of billions and billions of hungry little critters whose main job in life is to eat dirt. On identifying dirt, they immediately begin breaking it down into tiny, edible pieces. Bacillus subtilis is so remarkable because it can identify what the dirt is made of and produce the enzyme specifically needed to break down that particular dirt.
For example, if Bacillus subtilis comes across fat, such as some oil around your oven plate, it will produce Price, an enzyme that targets grease. If the dirt is Protein based, it will release the enzyme Protea, if it is carbohydrate based, it’ll release the enzyme Amylase, and if it is cellusas (sugar-based) it will release Celsus. If the dirt comprises of a combination of fat, protein, carbs and celusas, Bacillus subtilis will produce all four enzymes. Once it has eaten the dirt, it will digest it and release it back into nature’s cycle in the form of carbon dioxide and water – both of which are completely biodegradable.
Some may ague that using bacteria in a cleaning agent won’t disinfect or sanitise, whereas synthetic chemicals that are designed to kill the germs which can spread diseases must be more effective in the cleaning process, right? Wrong. When good bacteria (like Bacillus subtilis) comes into contact with bad bugs (such as germs) they immediately go into combat mode. As with most things in life, good prevails over evil and in this case, Bacillus subtilis will outperform the germs because they have the ability to multiply several gazillion times quicker than the germs can. It is no secret who lands up raising the white flag every time. No germs mean less risk to one’s health.
There are as many as 54 billion Bacillus subtilis in just one millilitre of MCES’ cleaning products. They are used to clean and deodorise carpets, kitchens and bathrooms, eliminate grease from cracks, grout and hard floors, and even to keep urinals smelling fresh. MCES’ products are not only used in the cleaning industry but can be found maintaining septic tanks, industrial treatment and wastewater plants. They remove deposits on pipes, and clear drains and keep pipe lines free-running and odour-free. They do all this while being environmentally benign. As long as they have dirt to chomp away on, Bacillus subtilis will keep on chomping, and in turn will leave your home, or office, hygienic and dirt free.
Using a cleaning product that helps protect the environment, while still providing an effective and reliable cleaning solution has clear win-win benefits for all. Bacillus subtilis is a wonderful example of how much we can gain by modelling cleaning products on nature, and is fast becoming the core ingredient to a cleaner and greener future.
John Coetzee is an expert in green cleaning solutions. He is the owner at Managed Care Economical Solutions (MCES), a company that specialises in green cleaning solutions, green odour cap removal, bio enzyme technology and green hygiene technology. Since its launch, MCES has evolved to also incorporate pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and bio-enzymes. View more articles by John Coetzee.