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Biomolecular and biotechnology products are expected to open up significant new business opportunities for the future, provided that the investments in new innovations generate sufficient returns.

Website: http://biotechtouch.blogspot.fi/
Location: Sotkamo, Jyvaskyla, Helsinki
Members: 7
Latest Activity: Jul 12, 2014


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Biomassan valmistajat verkostoituvat

Started by Helge Keitel Jul 12, 2014. 0 Replies

Biojalostamoinvestoinneista uutisoidaan. Metsäteollisuutemme uudistuu.Continue

Tags: biomassa, biojalostamo


Started by Helge Keitel. Last reply by Irja Kallio Jul 6, 2014. 5 Replies


Sähköä ja lämpöä maatilan biokaasulla

Started by Helge Keitel Jul 6, 2014. 0 Replies

Huutolan tila Suomussalmella tuottaa energiansa itse.Continue

Tags: maatila, biokaasu

Future of traditional forest industry market branches?

Started by Juha Veikko Mentu Jun 5, 2009. 0 Replies

I would like to start this discussion by referring the last blog post by my closest friend, IM. I myself have very similar confusion in my head: what will be happened to old paper and board mills in Finland? Nordic people have today a deep "Angst"…Continue

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Comment by Helge V. Keitel on July 28, 2009 at 10:05am
Juha, it's great that you bring information about new ways of detecting pathogens and hazardous microbes. Could you tell more about new applications for PMEU?
Comment by Juha Veikko Mentu on July 24, 2009 at 5:48pm
IM (my alter ego) has discussed about alternative methods for the detection of hazardous or harmful bacteria with Dr. Elias Hakalehto.

It is most important to know the pathogens which will appear in patient samples. Clinical microbiologists shall know who are the enemies of the ill people: their metabolic capabilities, antibiotic resistence patterns etc. Their overall features are easy to find from literature or internet whenever the name of the species is known. This identification can be performed by selective cultivations on agar plates or in PMEU incubator, and further tests like microscopic examinations, API ID systems, immunological tests and/or PCR can be done to confirm the basic identification.

Paper mill is definitely another challenge for microbiologist. In some (relatively rare cases) the names of microorganisms are important to know: if the product shall have high hygiene quality (like LPB and other food-grade cartonboards) or questions about bioterrorism have been arisen (spore-forming Bacillus anthracis as an example). The occurrence of Legionella pneumophila is also a risk in the waste water treatment of paper industry today. Selective cultivations, either on plates or in PMEU, are the solid solutions for continuous microbiological control in those cases. PMEU is preferred because its speed (hours, compared to days with colony count analyses).

Papermakers shall focus more on the metabolic activities than the names of bacteria which they are living with in paper mills, however. Continuous inoculation of the paper production processes by contaminants, delivered with incoming lots of starches, mineral fillers, raw water, dry pulp etc. shall be controlled to avoid spoilage (amylolytic activity as an example), biofilm and slime growth, tastes and odours, spots and colours in the product etc. Because the wide range of bacterial species and their origin from the nature itself, clinical methods do not suit very well for this monitoring. There is no time to start labourous cultivations, pure cultures and identifications when the bacterial input continues day and night, "7/24". PMEU seems to be an excellent tool to check the basic features of process populations, their biocide resistence patterns included.

One important fact must also be taken into account. There are a lot of harmful microbes which actually cannot be cultivated on agar at all. One example are certain filamentous bacteria which may cause biofilm layers into the processes. They can be cultivated in some broths, however, but the usage of the original samples as the growth medium is the best way to detect them all. This can be done with ordinary mb laboratory equipment or with PMEU incubator.

Identification of bacterial species is still needed when the mapping of contamination routes into the processes is the subject of the study. IM will discuss about the microbiological mapping in his next posts (please see http://industrymicrobiologist.blogspot.com/).
Comment by Helge V. Keitel on May 6, 2009 at 9:56pm
Juha, Great comments about the future of industrial microbiology and I'm also happy about the new evolution of PMEU. I've been very busy with the reorganization of our own activities but should by now be through the bulk of the work and we can take a closer look at the future prospects.

This picture was made 1992. Process Automation was the big thing at that time. We operated from France around Europe. Now, the forest industry needs in addition to "productivity" a broad understanding of "innovation".

Forest Industries have outsourced the innovation to machine and automation suppliers. They have to get back people that now where the world is heading. There is a tremendeous challenge waiting for people like you, the PMEU gang, and people connected to KK-Net.

More about this later.

Social media has been a slow but still moving project. We're years ahead of the average corporate soldiers. Need to think how to monetize this knowledge.
Comment by Juha Veikko Mentu on May 6, 2009 at 4:31pm
I will refer the post of my closest friend, Industrial Microbiologist, copied from his blog, below:

"Last weeks have been very active in IM's life.

Annual meeting of Finnish Paper Engineers's Union (Paperi-insinööriliitto) has given some new opinions about paper industry in our country. Optimistic views were mainly honest ones, and the title of the meeting indicated better views into the future: "There is light in the other end of the tunnel"!

Training of paper industry employees seems also to be continued. AEL (biggest professional training coalition in Finland) kept a course of paper industry sampling a couple of weeks ago in Lappeenranta, and AEL and its smaller "competitor", Finn-Fiber Oy (especially focused on paper industry issues) are planning new courses to be kept already in next summer and autumn. It is very interesting to join the planning groups of these companies and be with when finding current topics and speakers for seminars and lectures.

Main issue, of course, are the measures to spare money, and in this context, it means better drive of the machines. Better sampling and faster analyses of the processes are most important ways to prevent all kinds of process problems and product faults, and the role of PMEU (Portable Microbiological Enrichment Unit) seems to rise even more: a new coalition of companies called Samplion Oy has started the marketing of this microbiological analyse tool, and it will be presented on Chembio Fair at the end of this month in Helsinki, Finland. We'll meet by the stand of Samplion Oy!

Negative issues should also be mentioned. One of them is the market situation of Russian short fiber: Carelian companies shall fulfill their task to collect certain amount of birch logs, no matter they cannot sell them to Finland because high taxes, set by Russian government. IM wishes good luck for the negotiations about this problem!

We are living interesting times - let's see what happens in the area of paper industry in next months!"
Comment by Helge V. Keitel on March 24, 2009 at 4:38pm
We've some new members and I hope to get more time to take care about the network.

Here is a contact for you Juha and Elias.

How is life?
Comment by Juha Veikko Mentu on March 17, 2009 at 8:25pm
IM is wondering, what will the future of P&P be like.

Referring his ideas, five major topics are needed:

1 PRODUCT: you shall have some product which is really needed among customers. An example: LPB (everybody will buy milk and juice in carton packages every day during her/his lifetime).

2 PERSONNEL: persons on all levels of the company, interested to sell good products.

3 MARKET: the only question: are the customers well aware about your product? If not, why?

4 RESEARCH: R&D in P&P is not a region of "sunset". A lot can be done to improve the quality of products, production etc. It would be possible to find even new products: why not to sell motor oil in LPB containers?

5 DEVELOPMENT. This is the most difficult issue. R&D is interested to develop new ideas but the economists do not see any forecasts for the innovations - why?

- O.K. IM is just a microbiologist and do not understand the global economy. He is still asking, however: where is the development and optimistic forecasts in P&P industry?

IM will also ask: are the Asian people more enthusiastic to develop P&P industry? Not only economically but also in their minds?

Comment by Juha Veikko Mentu on February 16, 2009 at 10:58am
I will refer the last post by "Industrial Microbiologist" because it may interest also other readers, working for process industries, than only P&P people:

"Rapid development of analytical microbiology has been obvious during last 20 years.

After the beginning of IM's career in paper industry (est. 1982) a significant increase of novel methods has taken place. Slow and labourous colony count analyses have been replaced with novel, advanced methods in certain laboratories on 1990's.

Biomass, surface hygiene, condition of activated sludge, biofilm formation - among even more subjects - can be assayed by luminometric methods today.

Light and UV microscopy is another basic tool of paper industry microbiology today. Very valuable results have been achieved with TEM on 1980's and articles about sporeforming bacteria and biofilms, based on electron microscopy, have published by researcher all over the world. TEM is, however, such an advanced research instrument which is practically impossible to apply into everyday microbiological control of pulp and paper mills. Confocal microscopy has given brand new ideas about the structure of biofilms but it is also a too complicated method for mill labs. In opposite, light and epifluorescence microscopy aren't too expensive; they definitely need a lot of training for the personnel which is no big problem, however: in Finland (and IM is sure, in other countries, too) are training companies who will have annual microbiology courses for paper industry under titles like "Paper Industry Microscopy" and "Methods for Process and Product Hygiene in Paper Industry".

Tools of molecular biology have replaced the previous generation's major tool, FAME (Fatty Acid Methylated Esters - an application of gas chromatography to perform identifications of bacteria). But the limits of PCR and similar methods are obvious: they cannot show what is really happening inside the machines! They only give - valuable, of course - information about microbial species but do not explain and forecast those metabolic reactions, succession of population, risk of biofilm formation etc. which are more important for the drive of machines, good housekeeping of raw materials and product hygiene.

Basic methods of modern microbiology like DEFT, ATP Assay, PCR and other should therefore be combined with simple simulators, driven in mill labs. This is already possible: the first system for this target, PMEU (Portable Microbiological Enrichment Unit) has been tested and used by IM since the beginning of 2000's and it has been proven to be a most valuable tool for rapid raw material, process and biofilm studies today.

An ecological point of view shall be applied to everyday mb control of the pulp and paper mills. This question is discussed in the article "Paperikone - ekosysteemi ja bioreactori" ("Paper Machine - An Ecosystem and A Bioreactor") by JM in the annual of Finnish Microbiology Society (INOCULA 2007 / 1 - unfortunately only in Finnish). Understanding of these two natures of a paper machine gives new chances for the mills: it gives the ability to forecast microbiological events inside the processes and it also give extra time to prevent problems."
Comment by Juha Veikko Mentu on February 9, 2009 at 10:51am
I will refer the excellent book "The Biotech Investor" by Tom Abate (Owl Books, 2003, New York) again. I try to reserve my time to read it through, no matter it is a dense collection of biotech and marketing facts.

In the preface of this book Tom Abate says:

"Biotechnology is an experimental field. Only a handful of of biotech companies currently have products on the market. The vast majority of biotech firms run at a loss during long developmental cycles aimed at proving their founding thesis. Experiments take time, and they often fail. Even when experiments have been done, and their results analyzed and presented at scientific meetings, biotech medicines undergo an excruciating process of regulatory review the can lead to approval, rejection or demands for more testing...In biotech time, development horizons strech for years, even decades."

This is familiar for every modern biotech researchers. Dr. Abate refers medicine research but relatively similar problems may arise when a novel microbiological analysis method is the subject of the research. Approval is then depending not on the health of the customers but more on the potential markets (my opinion). I still think that such a development task can be fulfilled in only years, but marketing may be a challenging task, indeed.
Comment by Juha Veikko Mentu on February 6, 2009 at 11:25pm
Helge, it is a question of knowledge.

Microbiology is known very poorly among non-microbiologist. Only the pathogenic bugs interest people. What other roles microbes have is usually not known.

We have discussed frequently about biofilms , food poisoning bacteria and raw material-degrading bacteria in paper industry. A lot could be done with a better analytical control. But is is obvious that very many R&D proposals will be "incubated" in a buddle of A4's on the tables of paper mill "officers". No one has time / interest to be familiar with them - no matter, a better control could spare a lot of money.

To be not so negative - how could we publish the ideas of rapid mb control? Newspapers, magazines, net communities, fairs & exhibitions?

If we only have time for this kind of mb "education", it would be worth of our efforts!
Comment by Helge V. Keitel on February 5, 2009 at 7:39pm
Juha, you've great ideas. I think you cover very important issues. The challenge is to get people to understand how important these things are. For industrial enterprises the most important thing is to understand the risks of not doing the analysis that is needed. Is that right?

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