The worldwide growth of the bottled beverage industry, along with the increased consumer awareness of health issues, has prompted beverage bottlers to rethink how they keep their liquids safe for consumption. Bottlers must not only deliver a product that is free of bacteria, but also extended shelf life and product quality.
Beverage bottlers are turning to ozone because it is an extremely effective oxidant that decays back into molecular oxygen, having a half-life of about 20 minutes in air. Because ozone is both reactive and unstable, it is not practical to store it in containers and is created on-site by using an ozone generator via a method called ‘silent-arc’ or ‘corona’ or ‘brush’ discharge.
Ozone oxidizes both organic and inorganic substances in water; removes unwanted taste, odor and color; and provides effective disinfection. Ozone is extremely effective at destroying bacteria, fungi and viruses, killing even chlorine-resistant Cryptosporidium. It is also used for oxidation and removal of heavy metals such as iron and manganese. Another benefit of ozone purification is that it will not lead to the formation of trihalomethanes (THMs), which are formed when chlorine is added to raw water containing humic materials. Once a THM is formed, it is difficult to oxidize, even with ozone.
Ozone has quickly become the disinfectant of choice among beverage bottlers worldwide.