[results]testing for microbial Contamination in jet fuel

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In summary, Brendon found three reliable detection tests that private jet owners can use to prevent microbial contamination from occurring.
  • #1


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Hello I am sharing the results of my analytical report on "comparison on methods of testing for microbial contamination in jet fuel for private jet aircraft owners" for those who were interested (namely Cyrus)

First I would like to talk a little about the scope and the limitations of my report before sharing my findings. I should note that the criteria for methods available to private owners need to not require any lab training and has to be easily accessible.

Also I had to make my report slightly less detailed in comparison to stay within the page numbering limits.

I found that the “Guidance Material on Microbiological Contamination in Aircraft Fuel Tanks" by the IATA contained a wealth of information about this but was not available during the time of this report. However, the university has ordered a copy and I plan to rewrite my report to include information from that book and create a more detailed report (partly because I am very interested in the topic and would like to create a professional report).

Also rather than comparing fairly unreliable tests such as the "clear and bright" and the milipore gravimetric test, I focused more on the ones that were proven to be reliable and others that were recommended by the IATA. This narrowed my search down to three such types of tests that a few of you should be familiar with: Automatic Particle Counting, Detection tests and Growth tests.

My report can be found http://www.2shared.com/file/5369027/a15e2f25/Microbial_Report_Final.html" You should note that this was an academic exercise and the letter of transmittal placed as page two is not meant to be real, the scenario and the appendix section were placed there at the request of my professor.

I have found that the detection tests recommended by the IATA are ideal for private owners in all of the conditions I have outlined in my report. This is because compared to the other methods, it has a smaller and cheaper price range, can be performed in 10 minutes or less, and is just as reliable as all the other methods.

In the future
In the future I would like to do a more detailed cost analysis on these tests because over time it seems a few of these tests can become fairly expensive, however, that depends on whether or not you fly in high risk conditions. The IATA recommends once a year testing but more frequently for high risk fliers and as experience suggests.
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  • #2
Hi Brendon,

I've read over your paper. Here are a few comments I have about it.

Opening Letter:
In your letter to "Mr. Carr" you talk about the IATA. I (and Mr. Carr) don't know what this is. If you are introducing an acronym for the first time in your paper, make sure you say what IATA stands for. Also, you talk about high and low risk environments, but you don't define what they are. You then mention frequent fliers. What constitutes a frequent flyer, 1 hour a week? 4 hours a week? 10 hours a week?

Here you start off talking about diesel fuel, but then you talk about jet engines. Jet engines don't run on diesel fuel, but JET-A.

Here again, the sentence you say:
" testing method to prevent contamination from ever occurring"
does not make sense. If you are testing for contamination, either it is contaminated or it isn't. The test won't prevent contamination from ever occurring. It will simply tell you if it has happened yet or not.

Here you say:
"Consequently, there has been a recent up rise of such incidence."
In general, never say anything you can't back up. What are the rates of such incidents, and how much of a rise is there?

I really don't think this section should even be in your paper, this is already in the references. In general, if you can omit a sentence and not loose any information, it shouldn't be in your paper.

Scope of analysis:
It seems like you are saying the same thing too many times here.
This report covers three of the most popular methods currently in use in the industry. There is discussion on automatic particle counters, detection tests, and growth tests. In the case of the growth and detection tests, we specifically compare the products recommended by the IATA. For each method, we compare costs, test length, and accuracy.

I've read this three times now and I am only on page 9. I would get rid of this all together.

Automatic Particle Counting (APC):
This section is very good, and well referenced.

Detection Test:

Growth Test:

As a rule, you never introduce new material in a conclusion. You only sumarize. Here you present a very nice table with times it takes to run each test, but this information is nowhere to be found in the body of the text. This should be dedicated to a section somewhere before the conclusion.

Overall Interpretation of Findings:
Don't use I or We in a technical paper.

Overall, I would give the paper a (82%) B- if I were grading it. The paper seems fundamentally OK; however, it needs quite a bit of reworking in the presentation of content as per my comments above.
  • #3
Thanks for the constructive comments:

For the opening letter it was assumed that the person or organizing body that I was sending it to had some knowledge of this, the IATA is presented and defined in the intro, and also there is a section on definitions which defines those terms used. In general I wasn't taught anyway around this and any suggestions would be helpful. Keep in mind that part is purely fictitious.

I'm not sure what I was thinking when I wrote that

That whole paragraph was sourced if I remember correctly, and in that journal the author did indeed say so. I don't know how credible that information is I can only assume all of the sources I get are credible as it was directed to use for my research by the university

mandatory by the professor

again mandatory by the professor

I should review the paper because I really do think I placed times of testing in each section albeit one sentence or two

Hmm I seriously cannot believe I forgot that

1. What is the purpose of testing for microbial contamination in jet fuel?

The purpose of testing for microbial contamination in jet fuel is to ensure the fuel is safe for use in aircraft. Microbial contamination can cause corrosion, clog fuel filters, and lead to engine failure, posing a serious safety risk. Testing helps detect and prevent these issues.

2. How is microbial contamination in jet fuel detected?

There are several methods for detecting microbial contamination in jet fuel, including visual inspection, ATP (adenosine triphosphate) testing, and microbial culture testing. Visual inspection involves checking for signs of contamination, such as discoloration or cloudiness. ATP testing measures the presence of microorganisms based on their energy production. Microbial culture testing involves incubating a fuel sample to identify and count any microorganisms present.

3. What types of microorganisms can contaminate jet fuel?

The most common microorganisms that can contaminate jet fuel are bacteria, fungi, and algae. These microorganisms can thrive in the water present in fuel tanks and feed on the fuel itself, causing contamination. Bacteria and fungi are the most concerning as they can grow and form biofilms, which are difficult to remove and can lead to serious fuel system issues.

4. How can microbial contamination in jet fuel be prevented?

Preventing microbial contamination in jet fuel involves proper fuel system maintenance and control of water levels in fuel tanks. Regular fuel tank cleanings, fuel filter replacements, and fuel additives can also help prevent contamination. Additionally, keeping fuel tanks full and avoiding long periods of fuel storage can reduce the growth of microorganisms.

5. What are the consequences of using jet fuel contaminated with microorganisms?

Using jet fuel contaminated with microorganisms can lead to engine failure, fuel system damage, and potential safety hazards. Microbial contamination can cause clogs in fuel filters, leading to engine malfunctions and reduced performance. It can also cause corrosion in fuel tanks and fuel lines, which can be costly to repair. In extreme cases, microbial contamination can lead to fuel leaks and fires, posing a serious safety risk for aircraft and passengers.

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