Cleanroom experts build careers on invention

Cleanroom experts build careers on invention

By Tammy Wright

Editor`s Note: This is the eighth in a series of articles celebrating the accomplishments of the distinguished members of the CleanRooms Hall of Fame.

Like the industry they helped shape, &#197ke M&#246ller`s and Gabriel Danch`s contributions to contamination control are dynamic and inventive.

For M&#246ller, a scholarly quest to improve beer was the impetus behind his industrious career in cleanroom technology. In 1958, as examina work for a master of science degree at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, M&#246ller started the enhancement process by UV-mutating ordinary beer yeast.

“The yeast mutants received produced more aromatic beer and so far it was a success. But, my beer frequently got infections that deteriorated it,” he says emphatically. “So, I realized (then) the horror of infections.”

In the fall of that year, M&#246ller became the head of the Antibiotic Development Lab at KABI, the only Swedish company producing antibiotics by fermentation. His job was to improve the fermentation yield, but he quickly discovered that big factory operations were vulnerable to frequent infections — causing a waste of money per week, he says, that was comparable to his annual salary.

“In the 1950s, contamination control was fairly unknown all over the world. We had no cleanrooms, just ordinary labs we called `sterile rooms` because we wished them to be so,” M&#246ller explains. “But they were not.”

M&#246ller began what he calls a “find the infection causes” program. He soon discovered that the “cause” was occurring during a work shift where people were performing very complicated processes without detailed written instructions. Once the problem was identified, he was able to develop precise operating procedures for one fermentation process, which he turned into a 40-page handbook (today considered a GMP guide) that KABI distributed to its factory workers. According to M&#246ller, the guide allowed the company to produce for years without infection.


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