New non-toxic disinfectant could tackle hospital infections

Aug 07, 2012

A new disinfectant, Akwaton, that works at extremely low concentrations could be used in healthcare settings to help control persistent hospital-acquired infections such as Clostridium difficile. The study is reported online in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.

Researchers from the Université de Saint-Boniface in Winnipeg, Canada tested the new compound, Akwaton, against bacterial spores that attach to surfaces and are difficult to destroy. Previous work by the group has shown Akwaton is also effective at low concentrations against strains of Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.

Spore-forming bacteria include C. difficile - a common bacterium found in whose spores can survive on surfaces for long periods of time. Spores are heat-tolerant and can survive a number of years in a dehydrated state before they are reactivated. Most chemical disinfectants control or prevent spore growth rather than irreversibly destroying them.

The present study showed that Akwaton was able to destroy Bacillus subtilis bacterial spores, suspended in water and attached to stainless steel or glass surfaces, at concentrations well below 1% after just 90 seconds' treatment. It was equally as effective at more dilute concentrations (below 0.1%) if left to act for longer periods.

Lead researcher Dr Mathias Oulé, explained the advantages over other chemical compounds currently used against bacterial spores. "Most disinfectants have to be applied at much higher concentrations – typically between 4-10% - to properly get rid of bacterial spores. Unfortunately such high levels of these compounds may also be harmful to humans and other animals. Akwaton is non-corrosive, non-irritable, odourless and is effective at very low concentrations," he said.

" demonstrate a remarkable resistance to physical and chemical agents as well as ordinary antiseptics. On top of this micro-organisms are becoming increasingly resistant to disinfectants as well as antibiotics. Our latest study shows Akwaton is effective at destroying these spores as well as bacteria that are known problems in healthcare environments"

Akwaton is fast-acting and non-toxic for humans at low concentrations. Other studies have shown that the compound is also environmentally safe. "All these properties make it an ideal for hospitals and laboratories. It may also have great value in the food industry to tackle spore-forming food pathogens such as Bacillus cereus and perfringens," explained Dr Oulé.

Explore further: In the 'slime jungle' height matters

More information: dx.doi.org/10.1099/jmm.0.0047514-0

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers pave the way for anthrax spore standards

Apr 15, 2008

Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Army Dugway (Utah) Proving Ground have developed reliable methods based on DNA analysis to assess the concentration and ...

How clean is your knife?

Jan 20, 2010

A new fast-acting disinfectant that is effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi and prions could help to reduce the spread of deadly infections in hospitals, according to research published in the February issue of Journal of ...

New explanation for nature's hardiest life form

Nov 12, 2009

Got food poisoning? The cause might be bacterial spores, en extremely hardy survival form of bacteria, a nightmare for health care and the food industry and an enigma for scientists. Spore-forming bacteria, present almost ...

Recommended for you

In the 'slime jungle' height matters

33 minutes ago

(Phys.org) —In communities of microbes, akin to 'slime jungles', cells evolve not just to grow faster than their rivals but also to push themselves to the surface of colonies where they gain the best access ...

Queuing theory helps physicist understand protein recycling

22 hours ago

We've all waited in line and most of us have gotten stuck in a check-out line longer than we would like. For Will Mather, assistant professor of physics and an instructor with the College of Science's Integrated Science Curriculum, ...

Cow manure harbors diverse new antibiotic resistance genes

Apr 22, 2014

Manure from dairy cows, which is commonly used as a farm soil fertilizer, contains a surprising number of newly identified antibiotic resistance genes from the cows' gut bacteria. The findings, reported in mBio the online ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

In the 'slime jungle' height matters

(Phys.org) —In communities of microbes, akin to 'slime jungles', cells evolve not just to grow faster than their rivals but also to push themselves to the surface of colonies where they gain the best access ...

New alfalfa variety resists ravenous local pest

(Phys.org) —Cornell plant breeders have released a new alfalfa variety with some resistance against the alfalfa snout beetle, which has ravaged alfalfa fields in nine northern New York counties and across ...

Former Iron Curtain still barrier for deer

The Iron Curtain was traced by an electrified barbed-wire fence that isolated the communist world from the West. It was an impenetrable Cold War barrier—and for some inhabitants of the Czech Republic it ...

Rainbow trout genome sequenced

Using fish bred at Washington State University, an international team of researchers has mapped the genetic profile of the rainbow trout, a versatile salmonid whose relatively recent genetic history opens ...

Robot scouts rooms people can't enter

(Phys.org) —Firefighters, police officers and military personnel are often required to enter rooms with little information about what dangers might lie behind the door. A group of engineering students at ...