Researchers flip highly effective, viscous disinfectants into breathable mist for the primary time (News)



IMAGE: Researchers constructed a bare-bones model of the machine years in the past as a proof of idea.
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Credit score: Jacobs Faculty of Engineering/UC San Diego

A staff of engineers and physicians in San Diego have developed a tool that diffuses potent disinfectants for airborne supply. Notably, the machine works on a variety of disinfectants which have by no means been atomized earlier than, equivalent to Triethylene glycol, or TEG.

In a research revealed within the August concern of Utilized Microbiology and Biotechnology, the staff used the machine to atomize disinfectants onto environmental surfaces contaminated with micro organism and confirmed that it successfully eradicated 100 p.c of micro organism that generally trigger hospital-acquired infections. As well as, atomized bleach answer, ethanol and TEG utterly eradicated extremely multi-drug resistant strains of micro organism together with Okay. pneumoniae.

“Cleansing and disinfecting environmental surfaces in healthcare services is a essential an infection prevention and management observe,” mentioned Dr. Monika Kumaraswamy, a doctor scientist on the College of California San Diego, hospital epidemiologist on the VA San Diego Healthcare System and corresponding writer on the paper. “This machine will make it a lot simpler to maintain hospital rooms clear.”

Researchers level out that one in 25 sufferers who checked into hospitals in 2011 (the final yr for which knowledge was accessible) needed to lengthen their keep due to healthcare-related infections developed inside the hospital.

The expertise has broader potential purposes too. It may very well be used to ship an entire new class of medicines to sufferers by way of inhalers.

“Our purpose is to make injectable therapies inhalable,” mentioned James Pal, a professor of mechanical engineering on the UC San Diego Jacobs Faculty of Engineering and one of many paper’s authors.

Researchers constructed the machine utilizing off-the-shelf smartphone elements that produce acoustic waves. In telephones, these components are used primarily to filter wi-fi mobile alerts and establish and filter voice and knowledge info.

On this research, researchers used the smartphone elements to generate sound waves at extraordinarily excessive frequencies–ranging from 100 million to 10 billion hertz — with a view to create fluid capillary waves, which in flip emit droplets and generate mist. This course of is known as atomization.

At the moment, fluids could be atomized by mechanical means like in fragrance and cologne sprayers, or by utilizing ultrasound. However these strategies both do not work nicely with viscous fluids, require an excessive amount of energy, or break down a number of the fluids’ energetic components. Additionally they require costly gear.

The expertise used on this paper does not have these drawbacks. That is as a result of the sensible cellphone elements use Lithium Niobate, or LN, a fabric that produces extra power environment friendly and extra dependable ultrasonic vibrations. Because of this, the machine can atomize even probably the most viscous fluids right into a positive mist that may drift within the air for greater than an hour.

The machine was constructed by Pal’s analysis group and examined within the laboratory of Dr. Victor Nizet on the UC San Diego Faculty of Drugs, in experiments led by Kumaraswamy.

Though the machine labored nicely on pneumonia-causing micro organism and on varied multi-drug resistant strains of different pathogens, atomized TEG didn’t get rid of MRSA, a lot to the researchers’ shock. “Folks informed us TEG kills the whole lot,” Pal mentioned. “Properly that is simply not true: in atomized droplet type, it was not all that efficient at taking away MRSA.”

Researchers at the moment are engaged on constructing an up to date prototype to make use of in a hospital setting, a course of that they anticipate to take one or two years. The machine additionally may very well be utilized in airports, airplanes and in public transportation throughout flu season, for instance.


The analysis was supported by the Nationwide Institutes of Well being, the Nationwide Science Basis, the Workplace of Naval Analysis and the Belmay Company.

Decontaminating Surfaces with Atomized Disinfectants Generated by a Novel Thickness-Mode Lithium Niobate Machine

Dr. Monika Kumaraswamy, 1,2; Sean Collignon, 3; Carter Do, 4; Janie Kim, 4; Dr. Victor Nizet, 4,5; and James Pal, 3.

1 Division of Infectious Ailments, College of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA;

2 Infectious Ailments Part, VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA 92161,

Three Division of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, College of California San
Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA;

Four Division of Pediatrics, College of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA;

5 Skaggs Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of California
San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA


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