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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2003 Apr;69(4):2245-52.

Killing of bacillus spores by aqueous dissolved oxygen, ascorbic acid, and copper ions.

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Chemistry Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico 87545, USA.


An approach to decontamination of biological endospores is discussed. Specifically, the performance of an aqueous modified Fenton reagent is examined. A modified Fenton reagent formulation of cupric chloride, ascorbic acid, and sodium chloride is shown to be an effective sporicide under aerobic conditions. The traditional Fenton reaction involves the conversion of hydrogen peroxide to hydroxyl radical by aqueous ionic catalysts such as the transition metal ions. Our modified Fenton reaction involves the conversion of aqueous dissolved oxygen to hydrogen peroxide by an ionic catalyst (Cu(2+)) and then subsequent conversion to hydroxyl radicals. Results are given for the modified Fenton reagent deactivating spores of Bacillus globigii. A biocidal mechanism is proposed that is consistent with our experimental results and independently derived information found in the literature. This mechanism requires diffusion of relatively benign species into the interior of the spore, where dissolved O(2) is then converted through a series of reactions which ultimately produce hydroxyl radicals that perform the killing action.

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