Researchers from Bar-Ilan University have developed new methodologies to produce powerful, environmentally friendly disinfectants, based on tap water, that can eliminate bacteria and kill viruses, including microbes from the coronavirus family.
The disinfectants are effective and safe to use and do not contaminate groundwater. The technology works through an array of nanometer-shaped electrodes with unique surface properties. The meeting between water and electrodes creates a cleaning material in a unique aquatic environment. The combination of these compounds gives rise to an effective antibacterial capability for microorganisms (bacteria, viruses and spores), while at the same time is safe for macro-organisms (larger bodies such as skin cells).
The platform on which the technology is based enables the preparation of a variety of solutions for clean spaces from bacteria, such as spray-aerosols for disinfecting surfaces, appliances, beds, closets, and bathrooms, containers for immersion, disinfectant wipes, hand washing, shoe washing, buckets for washing and disinfecting floors, air-conditioning systems, washing machines, and dry fog air-purifiers.
The ability to produce electrodes in a variety of shapes and textures makes the technology suitable for almost any application – from air conditioner filters to food containers that clean fish and meat.
The electrodes can also be used to disinfect and remove pesticides from vegetables and fruit, in addition to other applications such as mobile sprays, devices for manufacturing disposable antibacterial cloths and even masks and gloves.
The antiseptic capability is 100 times more effective than bleach and therefore low concentrations of between 50 and 200 mg of the active materials per liter are enough to disinfect, unlike bleach, which by contrast requires between 5,000 and 20,000 mg per liter).
Environmentally Friendly and Safe
These disinfectants are also much more environmentally friendly and do not cause burns or dry skin. As such they may be effective in treating wounds, a possibility being researched.
They don’t cause corrosion, and most importantly, with the very low concentration of 50 mg, they eliminate all kinds of viruses.
In electrode-free containers, the disinfectants can remain effective for two months and may be sold in recyclable bottles. For reusable bottled products, a fairly simple process can be applied to enable long-term use.
The ability to turn ordinary tap water into virus-fighting materials was developed and patented by Dr. Eran Avraham, Dr. Izaak Cohen, and Prof. Doron Aurbach, the leader of the electrochemistry group, in the Department of Chemistry and Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Bar-Ilan University.
The materials were recently tested by Dr. Inna Kalt and Dr.Tatiana Borodiansky Shteinberg in the lab of Prof. Ronit Sarid, of the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at the University.
They were proven effective in neutralizing corona-type viruses.
“We examined the ability of these materials to impair herpes simplex virus type 1 infection and human coronavirus OC43. Both viruses were completely eliminated when exposed to the disinfectants for different periods of time,” said Prof. Sarid.
“The structural characteristics of OC43 are similar to those of recent SARS-CoV-2 suggesting that this virus will also be easily eliminated with this disinfectant,” she added.