Electrochemically activated solutions: evidence for antimicrobial efficacy and applications in healthcare environments

Abstract

Due to the limitations associated with the use of existing biocidal agents, there is a need to explore new methods of disinfection to help maintain effective bioburden control, especially within the healthcare environment. The transformation of low mineral salt solutions into an activated metastable state, by electrochemical unipolar action, produces a solution containing a variety of oxidants, including hypochlorous acid, free chlorine and free radicals, known to possess antimicrobial properties. Electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS) have been shown to have broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, and have the potential to be widely adopted within the healthcare environment due to low-cost raw material requirements and ease of production (either remotely or in situ). Numerous studies have found ECAS to be highly efficacious, as both a novel environmental decontaminant and a topical treatment agent (with low accompanying toxicity), but they are still not in widespread use, particularly within the healthcare environment. This review provides an overview of the scientific evidence for the mode of action, antimicrobial spectrum and potential healthcare-related applications of ECAS, providing an insight into these novel yet seldom utilised biocides.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Dann Turner for his critical assessment of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to D. M. Reynolds.

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Thorn, R.M.S., Lee, S.W.H., Robinson, G.M. et al. Electrochemically activated solutions: evidence for antimicrobial efficacy and applications in healthcare environments. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 31, 641–653 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10096-011-1369-9

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Keywords

  • Aflatoxin
  • Biocide
  • Root Canal
  • Free Chlorine
  • Kill Rate