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Detergent enzymes

Washing machine

The Challenge

Starbrands Ltd, a leading UK manufacturer of cleaning products, wanted to confirm that their non-biological detergent products were kept free from the enzyme additives used in their biological products during the production process.

Enzymes are added to biological cleaning products in small quantities to improve their cleaning action and stain removal properties. Some enzymes (proteases) can cause dermatitis; proteases, lipases and amylases are widely found in cleaning products. Although safe when used correctly, some consumers choose not to use biological products.

Starbrands also needed results from submitted samples on a timescale that did not interfere with production deadlines. This involved us modifying our normal sample turnaround time and maintaining a close working relationship.

The Solution

Detergents in a concentrated form tend to be aggressive chemical mixtures, often with high alkaline pHs, and would normally be unsuitable for measurement by an immunoassay. However, our team is experienced in developing allergen methods appropriate for the very low levels found in air samples; by diluting out the detergent's potential deleterious effects, they soon had an assay capable of detecting the protease at the low ppb levels in concentrated detergent, achieving a sensitivity of around 10ppb.

The Outcome

Starbrands Ltd have been able to demonstrate that their non-biological products are essentially free of this particular protease, giving confidence in their production methods and quality control procedures.

We are looking at the possibility of undertaking similar monitoring for another enzyme (amylase) that the customer uses in some of their biological products to remove starchy stains such as gravy and sauces.

View more examples of our work in this area.

Contact us at: to discuss how we could apply our skills in high sensitivity immunoassays to support your product quality control issues.

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