Modulate the dosage absorbed by changing exposure times.
The gamma rays (γ) are photons, or rather, electromagnetic radiations with no mass and zero electric charge. The absence of mass and electric charge reduces the interaction with the ingredients to a minimum, giving the γ rays the highest penetrating power of any other kind of radiation.
Their high penetration capacity means they can be used in different environments, especially sterilisation and sanitation, as it allows the ingredients to be penetrated without undermining them, killing the microorganisms that populate them. The most industrially used sources for generating gamma rays are the cesium-137 and the cobalt-60, unstable radioisotopes which tend to be spontaneously stable by emitting gamma rays via a process known as decay.
The cobalt-60, produced using neutron activation of the cobalt-59, is the one most commonly used in the world of irradiation and is also the one used at Gammatom. During its decay, each cobalt-60 atom emits two γ rays with considerable energy, one of 1.17 MeV (Mega electron volt) and the other of 1.33 MeV. This energy is well below the ingredients’ activation threshold of 10 MeV, so the treatment is completely residue free.
Gammatom can accurately identify the activity of the source at any time using its advanced IT systems. So, it can modulate the absorbed dosage, changing the times and exposure methods, using state of the art software
Dosage Uniformity and Precision
The Gammatom treatment can be modulated via a three dimensional Cartesian system (Oxyz), that is, on the orientation of the material and its distance from the source.
As previously mentioned, the γ rays stand out for their high penetration capacity, that is, despite dispersing part of their energy when they encounter more or less dense elements along their path.
The ideal irradiation, as well as uniformity of the dosage just described, must also be differentiated by the accuracy in distributing the dosage which Gammatom achieves thanks to the decision to irradiate with a low intensity source.
Does the material become radioactive after irradiation and should it be placed in quarantine?
The answer is no. The activation threshold of the material is 10 MeV which is the minimum energy that the rays should produce to activate the material making it radioactive in turn. The cobalt 60 decay gamma rays emit two rays with recognised and constantly steady energy, respectively 1.17 and 1.33 MeV so it will always be impossible for them to render the material radioactive. As a result, no quarantine is required.
Do you also carry out laboratory analyses such as sterilisation or bioburden tests?
The answer is no. We apply the irradiation process to sterilise a product. If we were to also to analyse a product’s sterility or its microbial count, we would simultaneously become the controller and the controlled, so out of choice, we prefer to leave our clients free to choose external laboratories that are completely independent of us to assess the sterility level achieved during the sterilisation process.
Can you guarantee sterility?
Legally, the irradiator cannot be held responsible for sterility as this depends on a variety of factors: the bacterial count found on the product, the irradiation process and packaging capacity. In order to declare a product sterile, it is generally necessary for the laboratory to carry out some assessments (establishing the bioburden and sterility test) to establish the irradiation dosage, for the irradiating process itself and lastly, for the packaging capacity
Do you open the boxes to carry out the treatment?
No, the boxes are sealed during treatment, the gamma rays are highly penetrating and the advantage of this kind of sterilisation lies in the fact that it can be applied to a sealed packaging.
Does the product heat up during treatment?
No. The process itself does not cause the product to heat up, although the temperature inside the irradiation cell is a few degrees higher than outside it.
Is special packaging required?
No. There are no specific requirements. It should be remembered that certain types of plastic tend to turn yellow with higher dosages while glass gets darker even at lower dosages.