Israeli salve for sick buildings

The Better Air system infuses indoor air with probiotics, leaving no room for germs and allergens to cause illness and body odor.

House mold, smelly armpits, dust mites, “sick building syndrome” and hospital-borne bacterial infections now face tough competition: Israeli startup Better Air has developed a novel air filtration system that uses millions of “good” bacteria called probiotics to overtake the “bad” bacteria and their associated contaminants infiltrating indoor living, healing and workspaces.

Like the probiotics we ingest to promote good gut health, Better Air’s BioZone system uses a similar good bacteria to keep out the unwanted bacteria and related allergens that can cause sickness, infection and foul odor in homes, offices, hospitals – and even on bodies.

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Better Air co-founder Yuli Horesh became interested in the field of bacteria, when his grandmother died as a result of a rare hospital-borne bacterial infection. Horesh was determined to do something about the rising incidence of fatal hospital-acquired infections, and the effects of sick buildings. The technology he adopted, based on research at Ghent University in Belgium, can be a paradigm shifter.

Instead of trying to kill all bacteria – a losing and even counterproductive battle – BioZone promote good bacteria in indoor spaces, leaving no room for the bad ones to grow and flourish.

“We took the concept of using probiotics to take over a space and applied it to one of the major problems today: sick building syndrome. People are sitting in buildings with mixed bacteria where all the mechanized systems are bringing the outside in, and mixing it with humidity and dirt. What we get basically is a laboratory growing inside the air-conditioning ducts,” Horesh tells ISRAEL21c.

Better Air's BioZone system boosts a building’s immunity to bacteria, mold and dust mites.
Better Air’s BioZone system boosts a building’s immunity to bacteria, mold and dust mites.

“For the past four years we’ve been testing various combinations and applications and came up with the best technology that actually takes over the microbiological growth in the ducts and defines the area [in a new way],” he explains.

An under-the-arm solution

Better Air is working in two directions to promote its technology. One is customized solutions for hospitals and large office buildings. BioZone is already installed in Israeli hospitals and in the Dizengoff Center mall in Tel Aviv. The company is helping to rehab a notorious “sick” building in Jerusalem previously occupied by the Israel Broadcasting Authority. Better Air has also signed on with partners to open subsidiaries in various countries.

In another direction, the company is building small home-based plug-and-play purifiers that sit near the air intake of heating or air-conditioning systems. These units should be available for sale by the end of the year.

BioZone works with food-grade probiotics purchased from the United States, suspended in a gas so they can be dispersed in areas where unhealthful bacteria are growing. The system must be replenished every month to six months, depending on usage and the size of the building.

Horesh explains, “Our trick is this: Bacteria have a language called ‘quorum sensing.’ This means in a certain amount of space, let’s say ‘x,’ there will always be a ‘y’ amount of bacteria — never more.” BioZone quantifies the area and disperses exactly the right amount of probiotics necessary.

In essence, the good bacteria forces out the bad. And the loss of negative bacteria also indirectly puts a lid on the growth of mites and other house-borne pathogens such as mold.

Horesh says that BioZone also helps banish body odor in enclosed spaces, because the odor is caused by bad bacteria.

Better Air, based in Tel Aviv, employs 14 people. The company was founded in 2011 by Horesh, Mike Hoffman and Shai Kutner with about $2 million in private funding, and is seeking an investment of up to $5 million.

About Karin Kloosterman

Karin Kloosterman is an award-winning environment news publisher who founded Green Prophet (www.greenprophet.com) to connect North Americans to issues that matter in the Middle East. She is the CEO of the Internet of Things startup flux, a company that is making social grow tools for urban farmers everywhere (www.fluxiot.com). Karin can be reached at karin (at) fluxiot.com.
  • Geo

    If this can be developed, which I believe it can be, it would be a great investment oppertunity and I would go in on it. The hospitals, doctor offices and airports would be great places to test it out. I take pro-biotics and they are great. Well done Isreal!

  • Jen Maidenberg

    Very cool!

  • Partha Dasgupta

    At night, probiotic room-air inhaled naturally through nostrils and open mouth should have added benefit for those who have tendency for inflammatory asthma and dyspeptic problems respectively. The concept has opened up new vistas for medical research associated with clean environment. CONGRATULATIONS!

  • Mickey Oberman

    I wonder if BioZone wuld be able to clean areas in which mold and other bacteria have been established for many years.

  • Jael chan

    Hi,
    We are very interested in this product.
    It will save many lives and also can improve health of many.
    Please contact me at
    Jc.hscc@gmail.com or
    jc.jehuchan@gmail.com
    We would like to see how we can work together , especially in Asia.
    Thank you and blessings
    Jehu and Jael Chan

  • Mark Gold

     
    South Africa. Great concept. Good timing for rapid development and recourses management.
    I am trying to make contact with Better Air in Israel, but I have had no reply to mails or phone number just rings. We are a South African business looking to discuss distributorship for Southern Africa. Can anyone send me their correct contact details?
    Thanking you
    Regards
     
    Mark Goldberg