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Cleanability of soiled stainless steel as studied by atomic force microscopy and time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry.

Boyd, Robert D., Cole, Don, Rowe, Deborah L., Verran, Joanna, Paul, Alan J. and West, Robin (2001) Cleanability of soiled stainless steel as studied by atomic force microscopy and time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry. Journal of food protection, 64 (1). pp. 87-93. ISSN 0362-028X

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Abstract

The hygienic status of food contact surfaces can deteriorate with wear. Effective cleaning regimes must remove any adsorbed organic material as well as microorganisms. Previous work has determined the extent of surface wear occurring on a stainless steel surface within the food industry, and we have reproduced representative samples in vitro. Two surface analytical techniques, atomic force microscopy and time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry were combined with fluorescence microscopy to give detailed analysis of stainless steel surfaces fouled with starch and milk powder, then cleaned with water either by a spray or brushing method. It was found that the surface cleanability is affected by the cleaning regime and the surface roughness, not only the average vertical roughness but also by the shape of the surface defects, with sharp scratches more difficult to clean than wider surface defects. Spray cleaning with distilled water was found to be a selective method by preferentially removing proteinaceous material more easily than fatty acid ester material. The analytical techniques employed provided information on selective cleanability and surface topography at a hitherto unexplored level, and the information gained may be of value in the design and investigation of novel cleaning regimes and hygienic surfaces.

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