Quantification, qualification, and microbial killing efficiencies of antimicrobial chlorine-based substances produced by iontophoresis

C. P. Davis, M. E. Shirtliff, N. M. Trieff, S. L. Hoskins, M. M. Warren

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    36 Scopus citations


    The dependence of microbial killing on chloride ions present in solutions undergoing iontophoresis is addressed. A 400-μA current was applied to vials containing synthetic urine or saline, and the production of chlorine-based substances (CBSs) was detected by the N,N-diethyl-p-phenylene diamine colorimetric method. It was found that as the time of current application increased, the total concentration of CBSs also increased. The iontophoretic current converted (through oxidation) chloride ions present in the solutions into CBSs such as free chlorine, chlorine dioxide, chlorite, monochloramine, and dichloramine (the last two were produced by iontophoresis only when nitrogenous substances were present in the solution). Two of the CBSs (free Cl and ClO2), when they were separately added back to microbial suspensions (approximately 3 x 105 CFU/ml) at the same concentrations at which they were detected in either 0.46% (wt/vol) NaCl solution or synthetic urine iontophoresed for 4 h at 400 μA, reduced or eliminated bacterial genera and a fungus. However, when free Cl and ClO2 were jointly added back to microbial suspensions, bacterial and fungal killing was synergistic and more rapid and complete than when these chlorine-based biocides were added separately. Therefore, iontophoresis of solutions containing chloride ions produces chlorine-based biocides that are responsible for the antimicrobial effect of iontophoresis.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)2768-2774
    Number of pages7
    JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
    Issue number12
    StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pharmacology
    • Pharmacology (medical)
    • Infectious Diseases

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