In order to meet the specific environmental and size requirements needed to assess Assured Bio’s Mold Inhibitor product, an extensively monitored testing chamber was set up on the property. Due to these size requirements, a 40-foot-long shipping container was chosen to house the experiment. Within this shipping container chamber, five brand new pallets and five recycled pallets were placed in two mixed stacks of five and evenly spaced for optimal air circulation. In addition, cardboard MRE boxes were placed on two pallets which were then wrapped in plastic wrap to mock the real-world storage scenario. Prior to placement of these pallets and cardboard MRE boxes, half were treated with Assured Bio’s Mold Inhibitor and half remained untreated to act as a control. Humidity and temperature within the chamber are monitored and logged continuously via bluetooth compatible sensors mounted at each end. Wood moisture readings are also taken daily from each pallet and compiled into tracking software where we can reference weather data coinciding with any notable spikes in wood moisture content.
To monitor air quality within the chamber, a WhisperCare® Air Monitor unit continuously collects 3 liters of air through M-TRAP® cassettes thanks to two 100W roof-mounted solar panels and a 12-volt deep cycle automotive battery. The M-TRAP® air cassettes are exchanged each week and analyzed using our SIAM (Species Identification of Airborne Mold) analysis to document the presence and concentration of 36 common fungi. Molds included in the SIAM analysis were popularized with the development of the EPA’s ERMI (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index) Study.
To document fungal activity on treated and untreated surfaces we are utilizing the Total Fungi analysis on surface swabs, collected weekly. This analysis will detect any fungal cells that may be present, and quantify as a combined spore equivalent. For pallets, a two square inch swab collection is taken from a randomly generated pre-measured location on each. Palletized cardboard MRE boxes are swabbed using a six square inch collection on cardboard, beneath the plastic wrapping.
Our goal for this project is to see if our enzyme-based mold inhibitor provides DOD supply chain workers a healthier environment to work in and ultimately ensure our troops’ food supply is uncompromised. Read more about the mold inhibitor on our last blog post: Assured Bio’s Department of Defense Phase II SBIR: A Three-Part Series. Part Two: The chemistry of the mold inhibitor spray & the EPA label approval process.