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Killing bacterial cells and inactivate pathogenic viruses without use of chemicals

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Orbio Technologies, Tennant Company’s chemical-free technology arm, announced today that working together with their license partner Activeion, they have discovered the ability to kill bacterial cells and inactivate pathogenic viruses without using chemicals. The technology, which is based on irreversible electroporation, is known as Orbio-E.

According to Karla Leis, General Manager of Orbio Technologies Group, “We continue to build on our technology partnership with Activeion, the exclusive licensee of Orbio’s ec-H2OTM technology for handheld spray applications, and have expanded the license agreement to enable the Orbio-E technology to be added to Activeion’s handheld spray devices marketed under the names ionatorEXP and ionatorHOM.” When used as directed, the ionatorEXP and ionatorHOM kill the 2009 Pandemic H1N1 Influenza A virus and more than 99.9% of most harmful bacteria (E. coli, VRE, Salmonella, MRSA, Pseudomonas, Staph, Listeria and E. coli 0157:H7) on nonporous hard surfaces with a 6-second spray.

Electroporation has long been an effective and important tool in molecular and cellular biology for medical and pharmaceutical research. Electroporation uses a low-level, externally applied electrical field to temporarily disrupt cell membranes, allowing small molecules to pass directly into the cells. If the applied electric field is below a certain threshold, the disrupted areas–or pores formed in the cellular wall–simply heal after the electric field is turned off, allowing the modified cells to survive.

Orbio-E technology causes irreversible electroporation, going beyond the effects of typical, temporary cell poration. Orbio-E is a novel, non-chemical mechanism. On hard surfaces, Orbio-E disrupts and kills bacterial cells which may cause harmful infections. Quantitative laboratory tests also show that Orbio-E inactivates important pathogenic viruses like influenza.
Orbio-E uses only water and very small amounts of electrical energy to deliver impressive antimicrobial performance. Additional important benefits of this breakthrough technology include improved sustainability, reduced environmental footprint, and reduced hazards from the potential misuse of chemical (cleaning) products.

Despite its harm to bacteria, Activeion has tested the impact of the technology in an independent lab to determine that it has no measurable detriment on skin, eyes, when ingested or inhaled. Therefore, the Activeion products do not carry any chemical-related warning label.

Orbio Technologies Group is currently forming a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), comprised of external technical experts. According to Pete Swenson, Director of Advanced Technology at Orbio, the SAB will formalize Tennant’s tradition of working with world-class researchers from many technical disciplines. The SAB will advise Orbio on broad scientific matters and review the quality of scientific and technical research.

The discovery of Orbio-E comes on the heels of Tennant Company’s successful introduction of its breakthrough chemical-free cleaning technology known as Orbio ec-H2O. The Orbio ec-H2O technology was named by R&D Magazine as one of the most technologically significant developments in 2008, and helps to meet the ever-growing need for sustainable cleaning. Orbio ec-H2O delivers proven cleaning results without the economic costs and environmental concerns associated with producing, packaging, transporting, using and disposing of traditional cleaning chemicals. The technology begins as water and ends as water, so it can be handled and disposed of easily and safely.

The Orbio ec-H2O and Orbio-E technology platform entails over 30 US and many more global patent applications.

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