Serpong – BRIN Public Relations. The Merah Putih (White and Red) Gamma Red Irradiator Facility (IGMP) owned by the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) provides gamma irradiation services to the public to improve the quality of products and sterilizes medical devices. This service is one of solutions to the problems faced by the community in transporting post-harvest products from one area to another, namely damage to the product quality before it reaches its destination.

The geographical condition of Indonesia as an archipelagic country makes delivery of food products between regions and even between countries longer. This can be an obstacle for producers to keep their product quality in good condition when reaching the customers. The time needed in the delivery process can cause the product to be damaged or rotten due to the presence of microorganisms, thereby reducing the economic value of the product.

The Executive Coordinator of the Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Partnership Function and the person in charge of IGMP, Salim Mustofa said, irradiation is a very effective method of preservation and sterilization, under which radiation exposure to an object may inhibit the growth or even kill various types of microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria, parasites. as well as fungal spores in the object. “Therefore, irradiation can be a solution for the food product industry and sterilization of medical devices in maintaining the quality of their products,” said Salim, Tuesday (02/02).

He added that the IGMP, which is located in the Puspiptek Area, Serpong, South Tangerang, is an industrial-scale multifunctional irradiator. IGMP is used for research purposes, and also as the service facility for SMEs and industries for food preservation, herbal medicine, cosmetics, sterilization of medical devices and so forth so that it will support export of food product industries and support national food security.

IGMP was built from 2014 to 2017 and its use was inaugurated on 15 November 2017 by Jusuf Kalla, the then Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia. IGMP has a maximum capacity of 2 MCi, with an installed capacity of 300 kCi using a Cobalt-60 (Co-60) radioactive source.

Cobalt-60 radioactive source is the most commonly used because it has quite a large gamma radiation, insoluble in water (wet package) and more durable. Gamma radiation is considered more effective because it has enough energy to ionize atoms of matter and damage molecules, and at certain levels can kill microorganisms.

“The irradiation process for sterilizing medical devices at the IGMP takes about 27 hours with an irradiation dose of 25 kilo Gray (kGy), while for food materials it takes for 11 hours with a maximum dose of 10 kilo Gray (kGy),” added Salim.

Currently, said Salim, Indonesia has 2 commercial Gamma irradiation service facilities, namely a privately owned commercial irradiator located in Cibitung and BRIN’s Merah Putih (Red and White) Gamma Iradiator located in Serpong.

Salim explained some of the advantages of using Gamma irradiators such as more effective in eradicating microorganisms so that the food ingredients become more durable and last longer. In addition, the irradiation process can be carried out in packaged products so that they are more efficient and eliminate the risk of repeated contamination.

“Irradiation also does not produce chemical residues that contain toxins, does not damage the nutritional content of food and is safe for consumption. Use of food radiation in Indonesia has been provided for in Regulation of the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) Number 3 of 2018 concerning Radiated Food,” he explained.

IGMP Service

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, BRIN’s IGMP continues to provide irradiation services for the community, SMEs and industries. IGMP’s operating hours are 16 hours divided into 2 (two) shifts, the first shift starts at 07:00 and ends at 15:00 West Indonesia Time, and the second shift starts from 15:00 to 23:00 WIB. Services is provided on weekdays from Monday to Friday.

According to Salim, during the Covid-19 pandemic, there is relatively no significant reduction in the number of requests for irradiation services at the IGMP, both for preservation and sterilization. “During the pandemic the operation runs smoothly. PNBP income is relatively the same from 2020 to 2021, around 3.4 billion per year,” said Salim.

In the 2021 IGMP Customer Survey, many customers rated the quality of IGMP’s services as very good and fast, so that customers made repeated requests for irradiation services. The relatively cheaper service price also makes many customers prefer to use irradiation services at IGMP.

“The continued operation of the IGMP service during the Covid-19 pandemic is one of BRIN’s commitments to continue supporting the national economy. Service users can go directly to the IGMP location or contact the Executive Coordinator of the Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Partnership Function,” he concluded (yrt/ed:pur)