New device traps particulates, kills airborne pathogens

Jan 31, 2013

A new device called a soft x-ray electrostatic precipitator protected immunocompromised mice from airborne pathogenic bacteria, viruses, ultrafine particles, and allergens, according to a paper published online ahead of print in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. This device, known for short as a SXC ESP, is highly versatile, with multiple potential uses, and Washington University is working on licensing the technology.

"Small particles are difficult to remove, and our device overcomes that barrier," says Pratim Biswas of Washington University, St. Louis. The device not only captures particles with a high level of efficiency that has never before been achieved; it also inactivates them. Even bioterror agents are blocked and completely inactivated, says Biswas.

The range of potential uses includes indoor protection of susceptible populations, such as people with respiratory illness or inhalation-induced allergies, and young children; protection of buildings from bio-terror attack; protection of individuals in hospital surgical theaters, for example, during open organ surgery; protection in clean rooms for ; removal of in power plants; and capture of diesel exhaust particulates, says Biswas.

The device could be used in homes, with a cost similar to that of high efficiency air cleaners, says Biswas. "But it would be much easier to operate, and much more effective," he adds. It could be added into stand-alone indoor air cleaners, or incorporated into HVAC systems in homes, offices, and even in aircraft cabins. In the study, the device exceeded standards for high efficiency articulate air filters, which must be capable of removing particles larger than 0.3 micrometers with 99.97 percent efficiency.

The SXC ESP works by placing a charge on the particles—"which it does very effectively," says Biswas—and then using an electrical field to trap the particles. The SXC unit then also completely inactivates , by irradiating them, and photoionizing them—as UV light does, only more energetically.

Explore further: Malaria transmission linked to mosquitoes' sexual biology

More information: E.M. Kettleson, J.M. Schriewer, R.M.L. Buller, and P. Biswas, 2013. Soft-x-ray-enhanced electrostatitc precipitation for protection against inhalable allergens, ultrafine particles, and microbial infections. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. Published ahead of print 21 December 2012 ,doi:10.1128/AEM.02897-12

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Technique controls nanoparticle size, creates large numbers

Dec 03, 2007

In a world that constantly strives for bigger and bigger things, Washington University in St. Louis' Pratim Biswas, Ph.D., the Stifel and Quinette Jens Professor and chair of the Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical ...

Recommended for you

Malaria transmission linked to mosquitoes' sexual biology

3 hours ago

Sexual biology may be the key to uncovering why Anopheles mosquitoes are unique in their ability to transmit malaria to humans, according to researchers at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and University of Per ...

Intermediary neuron acts as synaptic cloaking device

5 hours ago

Neuroscientists believe that the connectome, a map of each and every connection between the millions of neurons in the brain, will provide a blueprint that will allow them to link brain anatomy to brain function. ...

Skeleton of cells controls cell multiplication

5 hours ago

A research team from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia (IGC; Portugal), led by Florence Janody, in collaboration with Nicolas Tapon from London Research Institute (LRI; UK), discovered that the cell's skeleton ...

New study shows safer methods for stem cell culturing

Feb 25, 2015

A new study led by researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and the University of California (UC), San Diego School of Medicine shows that certain stem cell culture methods are associated with increased DNA mutations. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.