Pure water nano-drops fighting against bacteria. New tool for the lab?

Despite the availability of efficient treatment methods, pathogenic bacteria in air, on food or on surfaces remain one of the biggest threats for human health. Airborne infections or bacteria caused food poisonings affect millions of people every year. Though disinfection methods based on chemicals kill bacteria effectively, they have adverse health effects like causing cancer or allergies.

Can bacteria in air or on surfaces be efficiently eliminated by physically modified water nano particles, without the use of chemical substances?

This question was answered by a group of researchers of Harvard School of Public Health. They have introduced a chemical free, water nanostructures-based method for an efficient bacterial inactivation.

25 nm small and mobile electrically charged Engineered Water Nano Structures (EWNS) are stable to survive in room air for more than one hour. They surround bacterial cell and can kill both gram negative and gram positive bacteria with up to 98% efficiency by causing an irreversible damage of bacterial cell wall. On their surface EWNS contain so called reactive oxygen species generated by splitting water molecules apart, and have 10 electrons per particle in average. Antibacterial impact with the dose-response relationship has been demonstrated for Serratia marcestens (pneumonia, meningitis or wound infections), Staphylococcus aureus (respiratory diseases, skin infections, food poisoning) and Mycobacterium parafortuitum (tuberculosis). After destroying bacterial cells, water nanostructures disintegrate back into water without leaving residues.

Preliminary studies in mouse have shown EWNS having no toxicological effects when inhaled, no significant inflammation responses and no mouse cell injuries.

If EWNS technology is successfully scaled up, researchers say, it can be a game-changer in fighting against toxic microorganisms. Engineered water nanostructures provide a revolutionary inexpensive non-chemical and environmental friendly method for antibacterial treatment of fruits and vegetables, surfaces in hospitals or food-production facilities.

Why to spray toxic chemical disinfectants when an engineered drops of clean water can fight bacteria with the same efficiency?

Researchers of Harvard School of Public Health will further investigate possible industrial applications of EWNS, like disinfection of air, decontamination of fruits or management of wound healing.

flash4science encourages scientists working in other labs to think how this new technology can be applied in daily laboratory use besides environmental-friendly surface disinfection and clean laboratory air management.

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Material used for this article:

Image  by Andrey Rockotov  / CC BY-SA 2.0

Tags: Science


are these nanoparticles toxic to the healthy cells if you ingest them?

wonderful discovery!!!!!!!!!!!!

carmen popescu - 30 March 2015


Thank you for your comment, unfortunately, we cannot provide the answer, as we have not seen any results showing effects of ingestion. But inhaling was shown to be non toxic in mouse.

Administrator - 31 March 2015

Could this findings be adapted to plant fungi

If this technology could be adapted to the treatment of plant fungi.

Churchill - 23 June 2015

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