Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Air Cleaning System Destroys Anthrax, Other Pathogens, Says University Of Florida Professor

Date:
October 25, 2001
Source:
University Of Florida
Summary:
An indoor air cleaning system originally developed to zap dust mites and mold spores also destroys airborne anthrax and other pathogenic microbes, says the University of Florida engineering professor who pioneered the technology.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- An indoor air cleaning system originally developed to zap dust mites and mold spores also destroys airborne anthrax and other pathogenic microbes, says the University of Florida engineering professor who pioneered the technology.

The system has been successfully tested against a close cousin of the anthrax bacteria and could be installed relatively inexpensively and quickly in office and home heating and air conditioning systems, says Yogi Goswami, a UF professor of mechanical engineering and director of UF’s Solar Energy and Energy Conversion Laboratory. “There are other technologies for air cleaning, but for air disinfection, there is no more effective system,” Goswami said.

The photocatalytic air cleaning system relies on the interaction between light and titanium dioxide, a simple and widely available chemical. When light is absorbed into the titanium dioxide, it acts as a catalyst to produce an oxidizing agent. The agent, called a hydroxyl radical, “is like a bullet for the bacteria,” Goswami said, destroying dust mites, mold spores and pathogens by disrupting or disintegrating their DNA.

Goswami came up with the system in the mid 1990s as a cure for so-called “sick building syndrome,” when poor ventilation and a build-up of mold or mildew cause illnesses for people who work inside. Initial research proved that the system kills the mold spore, aspergillus niger, considered to be one of nature’s hardiest spores, he said.

More recent research has shown that the system also destroys bacillus subtilis, a spore that causes food spoilage and is a cousin of the anthrax spore, bacillus anthracis. “In the laboratory, we normally test with nonpathogenic bacteria that are closely related to pathogenic bacteria, so there’s no risk to people,” Goswami said. “As we expected, our tests showed the system was effective against bacillus subtilis.”

The technology is an improvement over traditional filter-based systems in part because there is no opportunity for bacteria to collect and multiply on the filters that clear it from the air, he said. “Filters can actually increase the danger because they concentrate the bacteria,” he said. The system is also an improvement over systems that use ultraviolet light, which do not consistently kill all the bacteria, he said.

Goswami said the technology could be installed in central ventilation systems to decontaminate buildings or homes or used in specific locations where contamination is feared. Given the incidents of anthrax contamination within the U.S. Postal Service, one application would be to install it in mail sorting or collection areas, he said.

“This is affordable for people. A central system for a single-family house would probably be in the range of $1,000 to $1,500,” he said. As part of UF’s technology transfer mission, the technology was patented and licensed to a Gainesville-based company, Universal Air Technologies. The company, which got its start at UF’s biotech incubator, the Biotechnology Development Institute in Alachua, Fla., sells a variety of portable and central air purification systems based on the technology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida. "Air Cleaning System Destroys Anthrax, Other Pathogens, Says University Of Florida Professor." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 October 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011025071910.htm>.
University Of Florida. (2001, October 25). Air Cleaning System Destroys Anthrax, Other Pathogens, Says University Of Florida Professor. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011025071910.htm
University Of Florida. "Air Cleaning System Destroys Anthrax, Other Pathogens, Says University Of Florida Professor." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011025071910.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins