NATICK, Mass. (June 26, 2014) -- Nonthermal processing comprises a number of innovative technologies that provide alternatives for traditional heat for food preservation.

The inspiration for these and other innovations in Science and Technology are often difficult to pinpoint, coming from thinking outside the box, applying expertise to new areas, and persisting even when opposed by conventional wisdom.

These lessons ring true for many dedicated scientists and inventors, who know that their rigorous hard work will lead to research breakthroughs, major publications, books, and patents that advance the state-of-the-art.

Senior research chemist Dr. Christopher Doona and research microbiologist Florence Feeherry of the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center's Warfighter Directorate take their research one step further -- technology transfer to industry.

"D-FEND ALL" or Disinfectant For ENvironmentally-friendly Decontamination, All-purpose, is a novel "clean and green" technology for the on-site, point-of-use, at-will generation of chlorine dioxide.

"D-FEND ALL decontaminates bacterial spores, promotes sanitation and hygiene, and improves water quality and safety with unique advantages over existing systems, including our previous patents for the PCS and D-FENS," Doona said.

The PCS, or Portable Chemical Sterilizer, is a modern field autoclave that sterilizes without electricity or water, and D-FENS, or Disinfectant For Environmentally friendly Sanitation, is a collapsible sprayer for sanitizing such surfaces as bathrooms, showers and laundries. In 2012, Thomson Reuters named the U.S. Army among the Top 100 Global Innovators for innovative patents such as these.

Technology transfer is often a first step toward commercialization. The Federal Technology Transfer Act encourages the transfer of federal technologies to nonfederal entities for commercialization for the nation's material benefit.

"It's exciting to see our laboratory research advance to the commercial marketplace," Feeherry said. "That's something not all scientists have the good fortune to experience."

Because of its convenience, D-FEND ALL has unmatched versatility in myriad dual-use applications for military and civilian consumers.

"D-FEND ALL was intended for textile decontamination and for disinfecting in a novel gray water recycling system to generate potable water in base camps," said Doona, "and it can also be used to rinse fresh produce or anywhere in the home or office where microbial contamination is an issue."

As Executive Committee members of the Institute of Food Technologists Nonthermal Processing Division, Doona, the past chair, and Feeherry have been Natick's leading researchers in nonthermal processing for more than a decade. Their scientific results in high pressure processing, chemical sanitizers, cool plasma, and other nonthermal technologies are found in such premier journals as Journal of Food Science, International Journal of Food Microbiology, International Journal of Chemical Kinetics, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, and Natick's first-ever video publication for the Journal of Visualized Experiments.

"It's a privilege to be scientists for the Army," Doona said. "We look forward to seeing the Warfighter use our inventions to improve their quality of life in the field."