Use of superabsorbent polymer gels for surface decontamination of Bacillus anthracis spores

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AimsThis study evaluated the inactivation of Bacillus anthracis Vollum spores dried on a nonporous surface using a superabsorbent polymer (SAP) gel containing commercially available liquid decontaminants.Methods and ResultsThe first phase determining the availability of the liquid decontaminant within the SAP showed that the SAP gel containing pH-adjusted sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) inhibited B. anthracis growth while the water control SAP gel had no affect on growth. For testing surface decontamination, B. anthracis spores were dried onto steel coupons painted with chemical agent resistant coating and exposed to SAP containing either pH-adjusted NaOCl, chlorine dioxide (ClO2) or hydrogen peroxide/peracetic acid (H2O2/PA) for 5 and 30 min. At contact times of both 5 and 30 min, all of the SAP gels containing pH-adjusted NaOCl, ClO2 or H2O2/PA inactivated B. anthracis spores at levels ranging from 2·2 to ≥7·6 log reductions.ConclusionsIncorporation of three commercially available decontaminant technologies into a SAP gel promotes inactivation of B. anthracis spores without observable physical damage to the test surface.Significance and Impact of the StudyThis work provides preliminary data for the feasibility of using SAP in inactivating B. anthracis spores on a nonporous surface, supporting the potential use of SAP in surface decontamination.

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