The untapped power and promise of enzymes

Enzyme activity in breaking down a substrate

How our understanding of enzymes continues to evolve

The chemical reactions that keep us alive—digest our food, regulate our metabolism, enhance our immune system to fight infection—rely on the work of enzymes. Case Medical, over our nearly 28-year history, has recognized that cleaners with enzymes, particularly those with multiple enzymes, do more than clean. Multi-enzymatic detergents take advantage of the unique activity of various enzymes to blast away the soils and bodily fluids found on surgical devices, so they can be rinsed away.

The ideal cleaning process combines detergent with multiple enzymes, mechanical action, i.e. friction and fluidics, followed by a thorough rinse with high purity water. What we did not know in the past is that enzymatic cleaners under specific parameters of time, temperature, pH, and water quality show the potential to not only remove, but to inactivate infectious prions and kill gram positive bacteria.

Enzymatic vs alkaline cleaners

Enzymatic Cleaner vs Alkaline CleanerIn 2005, Case Medical tested our enzymatic solutions with Dr. Michele Alfa, at St. Boniface in Canada, and in 2008 with Dr. Hugh O’Connor in Ireland.  At the time we reached a 6 log reduction in bioburden and a >99.9% reduction in organic soil. The assumption was that our enzymatic cleaners did a terrific job cleaning. No one even considered that excellent surfactants in combination with multiple enzymes could possibly do more. 

Over the past 6 years, we collaborated with scientists at the USGS National Wildlife Center and discovered that our various enzymatic solutions, some of which we developed years ago, not only had greater potential, but the results indicated that our solutions not only killed gram positive bacteria, but degraded prion proteins.

Some in the industry believe that only alkaline detergents can inactivate or kill infectious agents.  In doing some research, I found some interesting data to support our understanding and to share with you. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

As shown below, alkaline cleaners leave behind much more residual protein when compared to enzymatic cleaners.

Residual Protein - Alkaline vs Enzymatic Cleaners

In the comparing the efficacy of alkaline cleaners (high pH) vs. enzymatic detergent on stainless steel forceps, this demonstration published in Decontamination in Hospitals and Healthcare shows that the enzymatic cleaner removed significantly more protein. Caustic formulations also result in reduced use life for devices treated, contributing to rusting, pitting and corrosion, yet another reason to choose enzymatic solutions.

Experience the power of multiple enzymes

Enzymes break down targeted organic substances, significantly decreasing the activation energy required, while increasing the speed of chemical reactions. In some cases, enzymes can make a chemical reaction millions of times faster than it would have been without them.

SuperNova .1 Multi-Enzymatic Cleaner

Enzymes are highly effective—when used and stored properly. Correct machine settings and adequate rinse cycles also contribute to the best outcomes. And that’s what you want for each of your patients, every time.

So, what are you waiting for? Contact Case Medical to find out more about our validated U.S. EPA awarded instrument chemistries and how they contribute to safer outcomes.