Copper is significant in improving public health. Its anti-pathogen properties help to guard against infections in homes, at work, and in hospitals.
Copper tubing is widely used in plumbing because it can help preserve the purity of drinking water. Copper has antimicrobial effects that can inhibit water-borne micro organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, algae, and infectious parasites in the drinking water supply.
Surfaces made from copper and brass, such as doorknobs and tabletops, can also reduce the spread of disease-carrying organisms. Microbial food poisoning can be reduced by using a copper surface when preparing food. Recent research established that the Escherichia coli O157 strain, an especially lethal strain of the E. coli bacterium, dies after just a few hours on a copper surface, even under dry conditions. However, the deadly bacterium can live for over a month on stainless steel, which is a common surface material in food processing and in the steam distillation of plants.
Similarly, hospitals and clinics have reduced the incidental transfer of micro organisms with copper-based, antibacterial paint on walls and by installing copper or brass doorknobs and fittings on doors. Copper is also used in the preparation of antibiotics to keep them pure.
Why Use Copper in a still?
Pot stills are traditionally made of copper for numerous practical purposes:
* Copper absorbs sulphur containing compounds and yeast cells which are produced during fermentation and the presence of which is undesirable in the distilled spirit or essential oil. Sulphur compounds and yeast cells smell. Copper keeps the distillate sweet;
* Copper reduces bacterial contamination;
* Copper has excellent heat transfer properties, helpful for both heating and cooling of vapours;
* Copper prevents the production of ethylcarbamat which is a toxic substance formed from cyanides (cyanides are found in the stones of fruits);
* Copper also improves the quality of the final product. If the quality of the mash is not microbiologically perfect, copper will improve the aroma of the final product.
Copper has always been used for the construction of stills since ancient times. With the evolution of time and technologies new materials have been introduced such as stainless steel. However, old Europe will by no means exchange their copper stills for others due to its durability and salutary influences on the final results.