The cost of microorganisms to society is a significant issue across many fronts. Microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast and fungi are prolific and often necessary in all aspects of our lives. However, certain species are known to transmit illness to humans, degrade infrastructure and spoil goods. In the United States it is estimated that, on average, the direct cost of a bacteria-related recall to a food processor will be $10 M.1 In a specific case, five days after a recall announcement a publicly traded firm lost $109 M in equity value.2 In 2016, the food industry saw a reported 196 recalls attributed to listeria contamination, 99 recalls related to Salmonella and 31 E. coli associated recalls.3 Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that the food industry remains interested in advances in microorganism control.
Another industry that is suffering from bacterial contamination is healthcare. Contaminated surfaces and clothing in the healthcare industry have also been shown to contribute to the spread of microbial pathogens within the hospitals. A study investigating the impact of biocide-impregnated linens in a long-term-care brain injury ward found accumulative cost savings of approximately 24% due to reduced antibiotics, fever days and health care-associated infections.4