Chlorine Free Cleaning - A Teagasc Study

Date: 12/02/18

Chlorine Free Cleaning - A Teagasc Study

Kilco wash routine as an alternative protocol for cleaning milking equipment

With an increasing interest to finding alternative cleaning agents to those containing chlorine, a study was undertaken at Teagasc Moorepark on Kilworth research farm using a Kilco wash routine to establish if it could be successfully used to maintain low bacterial counts in bulk tank milk and have no Trichloromethane (TCM) or chlorate residues in bulk tank milk. Due to the plant size and ancillary equipment (milk meters), a high standard of cleaning product and cleaning routine is required to maintain low bacterial counts in this milking system.

The two products supplied by Kilco were Autosan Blue (24% sodium hydroxide) and Autosan Red (low foam phosphoric acid cleaner). The daily wash routine is outlined in Figure 1. Night rate electricity was used to heat water (75°C) for all AM washes and cold water was used for all PM washes. Cleaning products were not recycled for a second daily wash. Autosan Blue and Autosan Red were also used on alternate days for bulk tank cleaning. Milk collection was every 48 h until November 2017. The products were put in place on a 20 unit side by side milking parlour with 72mm milk line and electronic milk meters. The test period was from 03/07/2017 to 21/11/2017. The concentration of product used was 0.5% with 12 litres per unit of water used for the main wash cycle. Rinse levels of 16 litres per unit were applied for rinsing milk and detergent/acid residues.

There were no issues with the use of the products or dosing the chemical through the Dairymaster automatic wash system. In addition to the microbiological tests undertaken by the milk processor, a random number of milk samples were collected during the study period and both sets of results are presented. The average total bacterial count (TBC) was 9,788 cfu/ml (total samples =15). TBC ranged over the test period from 3,000 to 50,000 cfu/ml (Figure 2). Thermoduric bacterial counts ranged from non-detected to 340 cfu/ml with an average reading of 58 cfu/ml (Table 1).

Overall the cleaning product/system gave excellent microbiological results over the five month period. An increase in TBC was observed over the last two test samples which coincided with 3 day milk collections and cows going indoors. No obvious deterioration of equipment cleanliness was observed during or after the trial period. Milk samples from the bulk milk tank were tested during the trial period for the presence of TCM and chlorates and no residues were detected.  Costing’s of both chemical and water heating were also undertaken to establish if this alternative cleaning protocol would result in higher daily cleaning costs as compared to the standard detergent/steriliser cleaning protocol as recommended by Teagasc. 

It was concluded that this protocol would incur similar daily cost to that of the standard cleaning protocols presently in place on Irish farms. Therefore in conclusion, the Kilco milking equipment cleaning protocol if used as tested in this study, has the potential to be used as an alternative effective non-chlorine cleaning routine.

Figure 1: Daily wash protocol used in the study.

 

AM (morning)

PM (evening)

Monday

Hot Detergent wash

Autosan Blue

Cold detergent wash

Autosan Blue

Tuesday

Hot acid wash

Autosan Red

Cold detergent wash

Autosan Blue

Wednesday

Hot Detergent wash

Autosan Blue

Cold detergent wash

Autosan Blue

Thursday

Hot acid wash

Autosan Red

Cold detergent wash

Autosan Blue

Friday

Hot Detergent wash

Autosan Blue

Cold detergent wash

Autosan Blue

Saturday

Hot acid wash

Autosan Red

Cold detergent wash

Autosan Blue

Sunday

Hot Detergent wash

Autosan Blue

Cold detergent wash

Autosan Blue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 1: Thermoduric counts at sampling dates over the trial period

 

27-Jul

11-Aug

13-Aug

16-Aug

14-Sep

18-Sep

26-Sep

13-Oct

26-Oct

09-Nov

Thermoduric

340

31

0

20

0

120

19

10

35

0

 

Figure 2: Total bacterial counts at sampling dates over the trial period

 

David Gleeson MSc, PhD

Livestock Systems Department

Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co Cork


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