Inactivation of aerosolized Bacillus atrophaeus (BG) endospores and MS2 viruses by combustion of reactive materials

Sergey A. Grinshpun, Atin Adhikari, Michael Yermakov, Tiina Reponen, Edward Dreizin, Mirko Schoenitz, Vern Hoffmann, Shasha Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Accidental release of biological agents from a bioweapon facility may contaminate large areas, possibly causing disastrous environmental consequences. To address this issue, novel halogen-containing reactive materials are being designed with the added capability to inactivate viable airborne microorganisms. This study determined the efficiency of combustion products of such materials to inactivate aerosolized bacteria and viruses. Spores of Bacillus atrophaeus and MS2 viruses dispersed in dry air were exposed for subsecond time intervals to hydrocarbon flames seeded with different reactive powders so that bioaerosol particles interacted with the combustion products in a controlled high-temperature environment. The experiments were designed to quantify differences in the biocidal effects of different reactive material powders including Al and Mg, a B•Ti nanocomposite, an 8Al•MoO3 nanothermite, and a novel Al•I2 nanocomposite. Compared to pure hydrocarbon flame, powder-seeded flame (with no iodine) produced about an order of magnitude greater inactivation of bacterial spores. The iodine-containing material increased the spore inactivation by additional 2 orders of magnitude. The aerosolized MS2 viruses (generally not as stress-resistant as spores) were fully inactivated when exposed to combustion of either the iodinated or noniodinated powders. Overall, the study suggests a great biocidal potential of combustion products generated by novel iodine-containing nanocomposite materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7334-7341
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 3 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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