Mycobacteria inactivation using Engineered Water Nanostructures (EWNS)
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Airborne transmitted pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) cause serious, often fatal infectious disease with enormous global health implications. Due to their unique cell wall and slow growth, mycobacteria are among the most resilient microbial forms. Herein we evaluate the ability of an emerging, chemical-free, nanotechnology-based method to inactivate M. parafortuitum (Mtb surrogate). This method is based on the transformation of atmospheric water vapor into engineered water nano-structures (EWNS) via electrospray. We demonstrate that the EWNS can interact with and inactivate airborne mycobacteria, reducing their concentration levels significantly. Additionally, EWNS can inactivate M. parafortuitum on surfaces eight times faster than the control. The mechanism of mycobacteria inactivation was also investigated in this study. It was demonstrated that the EWNS effectively deliver the reactive oxygen species, encapsulated during the electrospray process, to the bacteria oxidizing their cell membrane resulting into inactivation. Overall, this is a method with the potential to become an effective intervention technology in the battle against airborne infections. From the Clinical EditorThis study demonstrates the feasibility of mycobacterium inactivation in airborne form or on contact surfaces using electrospray activated water nano-structures. Given that the method is free of toxic chemicals, this might become an important tool in the prevention of mycobacterial infections, which are notoriously hard to treat.