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PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e31212. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031212. Epub 2012 Feb 22.

The use of nanoscale visible light-responsive photocatalyst TiO2-Pt for the elimination of soil-borne pathogens.

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Department of Biotechnology, National Kaohsiung Normal University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


Exposure to the soil-borne pathogens Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia cenocepacia can lead to severe infections and even mortality. These pathogens exhibit a high resistance to antibiotic treatments. In addition, no licensed vaccine is currently available. A nanoscale platinum-containing titania photocatalyst (TiO(2)-Pt) has been shown to have a superior visible light-responsive photocatalytic ability to degrade chemical contaminants like nitrogen oxides. The antibacterial activity of the catalyst and its potential use in soil pathogen control were evaluated. Using the plating method, we found that TiO(2)-Pt exerts superior antibacterial performance against Escherichia coli compared to other commercially available and laboratory prepared ultraviolet/visible light-responsive titania photocatalysts. TiO(2)-Pt-mediated photocatalysis also affectively eliminates the soil-borne bacteria B. pseudomallei and B. cenocepacia. An air pouch infection mouse model further revealed that TiO(2)-Pt-mediated photocatalysis could reduce the pathogenicity of both strains of bacteria. Unexpectedly, water containing up to 10% w/v dissolved soil particles did not reduce the antibacterial potency of TiO(2)-Pt, suggesting that the TiO(2)-Pt photocatalyst is suitable for use in soil-contaminated environments. The TiO(2)-Pt photocatalyst exerted superior antibacterial activity against a broad spectrum of human pathogens, including B. pseudomallei and B. cenocepacia. Soil particles (<10% w/v) did not significantly reduce the antibacterial activity of TiO(2)-Pt in water. These findings suggest that the TiO(2)-Pt photocatalyst may have potential applications in the development of bactericides for soil-borne pathogens.

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