The Biotica 800 by Better Air
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. This motto, unfortunately, encapsulates the life of bad bacteria. When we clean our air and surfaces with chemical cleaners as well as HEPA air purifiers, we kill bad bacteria. While we are left with cleaner air, we are also indirectly creating stronger, harmful bad bacteria. To survive, bad bacteria (and its progeny) will evolve, becoming resistant to our cleaning efforts and even antibiotics, and are therefore harder to kill.
Better Air, an Israeli biotech company that is now distributing air and surface purifiers in Singapore, says to liken our homes and the buildings we work in to a human body. Here's why:
- Our body needs a good balance of good and bad bacteria. Similarly, the air and surfaces in buildings need a good balance of good and bad bacteria.
- The good bacteria — called probiotics — are the guards that protect our body and objects we come into contact with.
- The right amount of bad bacteria is needed for our body to recognise what is unhealthy for us. Without bad bacteria in your body and environment, your body is unable to recognise or develop a defence against infections.
WHAT IS A PROBIOTIC PURIFIER?
To restore a good balance of probiotics and bad bacteria in buildings, Better Air has created purifiers that aim to clean air, surfaces and objects by releasing probiotics into the air. Instead of eliminating bad bacteria, they introduce good bacteria that will land on objects, including the insides of mattresses, under carpets, and door handles. These probiotics will then push bad bacteria out. These are unlike traditional HEPA air purifiers that not only kill both good and bad bacteria, but also have no direct access to areas where bad bacteria usually reside.
Better Air is available in four solutions: a 75ml travel spray bottle; a portable purifier called Biologic; a plug-and-play purifier called Biotica800, as well as an HVAC system for even bigger spaces. The HVAC system is currently unavailable in Singapore, whereas the rest are exclusively available at home furnishing and appliances retailer Courts.
Better Air has a lab in Israel and South Korea, and is the first company in the world to utilise probiotics for cleaning the air, surfaces and objects through devices. The Better Air products are 100 per cent chemical free and organic, safe for humans and animals, and also count bad odour management and mould reduction amongst its benefits.
The surfaces of your home look clean, but are they really?
HOW DOES BETTER AIR AND ITS PROBIOTICS WORK?
Better Air releases probiotics, which they have called Envirobiotics (Environmental Probiotics), into your home. These Envirobiotics:
- will fight for the same food supply and space as that of the bad bacteria.
- will not kill the bad bacteria — and therefore do not create a more resilient generation.
- will instead contain bad bacteria at a small amount or force them to move someplace else. It is important to remember that, to achieve a healthy and balanced ecology of bacteria, you need a small and controlled percentage of bad bacteria.
“Think of it like a country which has a population of 5 million people. If we add 75 million new people to Singapore, the current population will not have the same food supply or space to live in. Similarly, when we introduce probiotic bacteria in buildings, they will make it inhospitable for existing bacteria to grow.
[In this case] the probiotics quarantine infectious bacteria, mould and allergenic matter by living in the same space and eating the same things these things do, such as fecal matter of dust mites — which have protein that is highly allergenic — the skin cells we shed daily, particles attached to dust and more,” says Taly Dery, President of Better Air International.
Watch in the video below how probiotics quarantine bad bacteria:
WHICH PROBIOTICS DO BETTER AIR PURIFIERS RELEASE?
They release Envirobiotics, which is short for Environmental Probiotics. Better Air has chosen a family of bacteria called the Bacillus ferment. “It is the same ones we have in Greek yoghurts and kombucha, though of a different strain. We chose a strain that lives in the environment and need oxygen to grow, rather than a strain that live in our bodies," says Taly, at an interview with Home & Decor.
After eight years of research and development, Better Air has chosen the Bacillus ferment for its versatility. There are millions of good bacteria strains but the Bacillus meets the requirements of this important checklist:
- Bacillus ferment is safe for us instead of aggressive towards us
- Bacillus ferment can work in different climates, temperature and humidity levels
- Bacillus ferment can interact well with others and do not cancel out other good bacteria’s work.
WHY ISN’T THE CURRENT STATE OF OUR AIR GOOD ENOUGH?
The combination of air purification devices that use filters, chemicals in the air, and a building that is shut off and have limited airflow creates an imbalanced environment, says Taly.
“We spend most of our time indoors. We are surrounded by, inhaling in, and touching contamination. We recycle air, and breathe in air released by air ducts that usually have never been cleaned — or at best, cleaned once a year. This is [part of] the Sick Building Syndrome,” she says.
Over 90 per cent of bacteria in the environment is good and essential bacteria that balances out the bad ones. However, Better Air posits that we are not replenishing the environment with good bacteria that has also been killed by our cleaning devices.
“Better Air [does not aim to] create an environment that is sterile, like a hospital. In fact, 1 in 10 people contract bacteria when they come into hospitals; this is not due to a shortage of UV light or other bacteria-killing technology, but rather, the bacteria strains have developed a resilience to our methods. [A sterile environment] is not working for us in the long term, it is not constructive to a healthy life,” says Taly.
HOW DO WE USE THE BETTER AIR PURIFIERS?
Keep your cleaning habits as per usual; do not over-clean or under-clean. Better Air is not a substitute for cleaning, it is to be used on top of it, says Taly.
The Biotica 800 ($499 including one cartridge) is a plug and play that treats up to 80sqm. It is best used for larger living rooms and is adequate for an four-room HDB flat, and features a cartridge that lasts for three months. It will alert you to change the cartridge when it is running low. You can also mount the Biotica 800 on the wall.
The Biologic by Better Air
The Biologic ($299 including one cartridge) is a rechargeable, portable device. A fully charged battery can last up to three weeks. The cartridge also lasts for three months. Suitable for cars, hotel rooms, and smaller apartments and bedrooms, the Biologic is ideal for spaces that are 20 to 30sqm. Each Biologic and Biotica800 cartridge refill is $59.
The 75ml spray bottles ($19.90) are ideal for you to take to public places like airplanes, airports, classrooms and malls.
“I would spray it to create a microbial cocoon that protects me from getting sick, especially in hotels and airplanes,” shares Taly.
These spray bottles are also designed to be reverse-pressure containers. Unlike regular spray containers that suck in air as they release its contents, these do not. It prevents the formula in the bottles from getting contaminated by outside air.
The 75ml travel spray bottles by Better Air
Taly also advises against placing Better Air purifiers near open windows, or the probiotics will travel out of the room. And if you have an active water leak or harsh contamination, take care of it first. As it is not a substitute for major mould issues, using Better Air purifiers without fixing the bigger problem will not give you the effect you want, she says.
WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO USE BETTER AIR PURIFIERS?
The most important place is by your bedside and close to your mattresses. Bathrooms and areas with carpets are good, too. You can also place them near cat litter trays, pet beds. The Biotica800 has a 10-hour pause button; press it at night and it will stop working for 10 hours. It will then compensate with longer mists during the day.
WILL WE DEVELOP A RESISTANCE TO THE BACILLUS STRAIN?
“No. The bacillus consumes irritants from the environment. It does not directly affect humans. Moreover, we have been surrounded by bacillus strains for millions of years. We do not develop resistance towards them,” says Taly.
There is no such thing as too much probiotics in the air, either, because they would just stop growing in an environment that is already rich with probiotics. It needs to be replenished, as they do eventually die off but like water in a fish tank, there is only going to be that much bacteria that can survive in one space.
Better Air purifiers are available exclusively at all Courts store. Visit the Courts website to find a store near you.