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Curr Microbiol. 1994 Sep;29(3):125-31.

Inactivation of anaerobic bacteria by various photosensitized porphyrins or by hemin.

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  • 1Department of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel.


The photodynamic effects of deuteroporphyrin (DP), hematoporphyrin derivative (HPD), hematoporphyrin (HP), or protoporphyrin (PP) on a variety of anaerobic microorganisms were examined in this study. The majority of the species, among the 350 strains tested, were inhibited by concentrations of < or = 2.5 micrograms/ml of light-activated DP. Species found to be resistant to this treatment included Bilophila wadsworthia, Fusobacterium mortiferum, Fusobacterium varium, and Bacteroides gracilis. These species were inhibited by concentrations of > 60 micrograms/ml of DP. The porphyrin-producing species, Porphyromonas and Prevotella spp, were all inhibited by < or = 2.5 micrograms/ml DP and light. Comparing the photodynamic activity of the porphyrins used on Porphyromonas strains resulted in the following pattern: DP > HPD > HP > PP. Porphyromonas spp., Gram-positive cocci, and many Gram-positive rods (excluding clostridia) were inactivated by hemin (a metal-containing porphyrin) at 10-20 micrograms/ml. Hemin inhibitory action was not affected by light. Binding and insertion of DP into bacteria (both inactivated and non-inactivated strains by DP and light) were monitored by the characteristic fluorescence band of bound DP at 622 nm. Porphyromonas spp. bound DP tightly, whereas only low binding was seen with B. wadsworthia and other DP-resistant species. High binding of DP to B. wadsworthia can be achieved by pretreatment of the bacteria with imipenem or cefoxitin, beta-lactam agents known to interfere with the integrity of the cell wall. If cell wall integrity is disturbed (e.g., by these agents), inactivation of B. wadsworthia by DP can occur.

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