Decontamination by Persteril 36 may affect the reliability of DNA-based detection of biological warfare agents—short communication


Persteril 36 is a disinfectant with a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity. Because of its bactericidal, virucidal, fungicidal, and sporicidal effectiveness, it is used as a disinfectant against biological warfare agents in the emergency and army services. In case of an attack with potentially harmful biological agents, a person’s gear or afflicted skin is sprayed with a diluted solution of Persteril 36 as a precaution. Subsequently, the remains of the biological agents are analyzed. However, the question remains concerning whether DNA can be successfully analyzed from Persteril 36-treated dead bacterial cells. Spore-forming Bacillus subtilis and Gram-negative Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Xanthomonas campestris were splattered on a camouflage suit and treated with 2 or 0.2 % Persteril 36. After the disinfectant vaporized, the bacterial DNA was extracted and quantified by real-time PCR. A sufficient amount of DNA was recovered for downstream analysis only in the case of spore-forming B. subtilis treated with a 0.2 % solution of Persteril 36. The bacterial DNA was almost completely destroyed in Gram-negative bacteria or after treatment with the more concentrated solution in B. subtilis. This phenomenon can lead to false-negative results during the identification of harmful microorganisms.

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This project was supported by the Czech Science Foundation, grant no. 14-36938G, and by the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic, grant VF20122015024.

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Correspondence to Daniel Vanek.

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Josefiova, J., Pospisek, M. & Vanek, D. Decontamination by Persteril 36 may affect the reliability of DNA-based detection of biological warfare agents—short communication. Folia Microbiol 61, 417–421 (2016).

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  • Peracetic Acid
  • Chlorine Dioxide
  • Decontamination Procedure
  • Neutralization Step
  • Biological Warfare Agent