By Jerilyn Coleman

Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD -- The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center (DEVCOM CBC) recently marked two years since the original patent license agreement of a decontamination innovation that has proven beneficial to both the warfighter and first responders.

In February 2019, the CBC Technology Transfer Office, Center scientists and their commercial partner, MQM Solutions Inc., successfully received a patent license, signed a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) followed by laboratory testing and commercialized the Solid Decontamination (DECON) Blend. Originally patented by the late George Wagner, research chemist with the Center’s filtration team, the unique DECON Blend can be transported as a dry concentrate, saving space and weight. It can be mixed with water at the time of use to provide an effective decontamination solution for use against chemical and biological agents. The DECON Blend can be prepared using a wide range of water types including drinking water, river/lake water or sea water and is an effective decontaminant for use against harmful chemical and biological agents.

According to Kevin Morrissey, supervisory chemist in the Center’s decontamination sciences branch, the DECON Blend can be used after personnel have entered a contaminated area knowingly or inadvertently. It can be used to decontaminate personal protective equipment and contaminated surfaces. “It also demonstrates the value of working with industrial partners to bring a product to market,” Morrissey said.

In the past two years, while the chemical formula hasn’t changed, researchers have found that the DECON Blend can be used by a wide variety of operators. In August 2020, the Center received an award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for its work with this invention and its benefits not only to the warfighter but to first responders as well. “If a fire and rescue team needed to decontaminate something, they could use a lake, pump the water out of that source and mix it with the DECON Blend,” said Matt Jones, Center technology transfer specialist.

The commercialized product is currently available as MQM’s Decon PLUS product line and it has been partnered with other decontaminants to create the Contaminant Mitigation Decontamination (COMIT) kit. The COMIT combines the Decon PLUS with multi-purpose wipes, a sprayer so that it can be easily mixed and a microfiber mitt with a chemical barrier built into it, which has an added layer of protection for the user. “It's been a long road to go from concepts to beginning ideas, to getting where we are today,” said Tim Meilander, President of M2DCON, the parent company of MQM Solutions. “There's a wealth of knowledge available at CBC through the various technical teams that they have throughout the Center. The nice part is that everyone that we have worked with, we’ve had an excellent collaboration and there's been frank and open discussions regarding possibilities.”