A Minnesota company will be granted an exclusive license by the Agricultural Research Service to commercialize an electrostatic system for reducing dust in livestock housing.

Baumgartner Environics, Inc., of Olivia, Minn., will have an exclusive field-of-use license for the device, developed by ARS engineer Bailey Mitchell, based in Athens, Ga.

The system uses an electrostatic charge to trap airborne particles and microbes, including Salmonella. Lab studies show that the system kills both airborne and surface Salmonella and other pathogenic bacteria. The system has killed at least 95 percent of airborne and surface S. enteritidis.

Additionally, the system reduces biofilms up to 99.8 percent when used at close range. Biofilms are formed by pathogenic bacteria that stick to surfaces and then cover themselves with a protective coating.

Lab studies also indicate the electrostatic charge keeps surface dust near its source. For example, loose dust on the floor of a treated room tends not to become airborne, because as soon as it leaves the floor it is charged and re-attracted to the floor.