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Comment Water Treatment

New antimicrobial compounds offer disinfectant alternatives

By Scott Jenkins |

A newly patented class of synthetic antimicrobial compounds is aimed at overcoming the limitations of existing industrial disinfectants, such as quaternary ammonium compounds and bleaches. “Bleaches are effective disinfectants on initial application, but they don’t work when they dry and can degrade surfaces,” explains Harry Pappas, CEO of Biosafe Defenses LLC (Albuquerque, N.M.; www.biosafedefenses.com), the developer of the new antimicrobials. “Further, quaternary ammonium compounds can have safety concerns and cannot make claims to kill certain important bacterial species, such as Clostridium difficile.” The company’s antimicrobials are p-phenylene ethynylyene polyelectrolytes, characterized by a conjugated backbone that is tuned to absorb light at specific wavelengths (examples are shown in the diagram). “Our library of compounds is characterized by cationic or anionic charge groups and pi-conjugated backbones that react with photons to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS),” Pappas says. The ROS break microbial cell walls and denature proteins and DNA, effectively killing the organisms, whether bacteria, virus, fungi or yeast. The compounds were originally developed from research at the University of New Mexico…
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