Shining a light on hospital wastewater

Jonathan Wells writes about a hot Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences article for Chemistry World

The photosensitiser absorbs energy from light and transfers it to surrounding molecules to create reactive oxygen species

Researchers in Portugal looking to find new ways to inactivate multidrug resistant-pathogenic bacteria have found an alternative to the traditional expensive and often ineffective methods for treating hospital effluent.

Hospital wastewater has the potential to be a threat to public health as it can contain bacteria that may facilitate resistance transfer to other species within sewage treatment plants. As Adelaide Almeida, who led the study at the the University of Aveiro explains, ‘some pathogenic bacteria are more concentrated in hospital wastewaters and some of these strains are resistant to antibiotics, such as vancomycin-resistant enterococci and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.’

Almeida’s team has shown that photodynamic inactivation (PDI) can effectively inactivate multidrug resistant-pathogenic bacteria. PDI uses a nontoxic photosensitiser, in this case a cationic porphyrin, which absorbs energy from visible light and transfers it to other surrounding molecules, creating highly cytotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) that inactivate microbial cells.

Read the full article in Chemistry World»

Read the original journal article in Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences:
Photodynamic inactivation of multidrug-resistant bacteria in hospital wastewaters: influence of residual antibiotics
Joana Almeida, Joao Tome, Graça Neves, Augusto Tomé, J A S Cavaleiro, Liliana Costa, Ângela Cunha, Maria Amparo Ferreira Faustino and Adelaide Almeida  
Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2014, Accepted Manuscript, DOI: 10.1039/C3PP50195G, Paper

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