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Antibacterial Properties and Mechanism of Activity of a Novel Silver-Stabilized Hydrogen Peroxide

Huwa-San peroxide (hydrogen peroxide; HSP) is a NSF Standard 60 (maximum 8 mg/L(-1)) new generation peroxide stabilized with ionic silver suitable for continuous disinfection of potable water. Experiments were undertaken to examine the mechanism of HSP against planktonic and biofilm cultures of indicator bacterial strains. Contact/kill time (CT) relationships that achieve effective control were explored to determine the potential utility in primary disinfection. Inhibitory assays were conducted using both nutrient rich media and a medium based on synthetic wastewater. Assays were compared for exposures to three disinfectants (HSP, laboratory grade hydrogen peroxide (HP) and sodium hypochlorite) at concentrations of 20 ppm (therefore at 2.5 and 5 times the NSF limit for HP and sodium hypochlorite, respectively) and at pH 7.0 and 8.5 in dechlorinated tap water. HSP was found to be more or equally effective as hypochlorite or HP. Results from CT assays comparing HSP and HP at different bacterial concentrations with neutralization of residual peroxide with catalase suggested that at a high bacterial concentration HSP, but not HP, was protected from catalase degradation possibly through sequestration by bacterial cells. Consistent with this hypothesis, at a low bacterial cell density residual HSP was more effectively neutralized as less HSP was associated with bacteria and therefore accessible to catalase. Silver in HSP may facilitate this association through electrostatic interactions at the cell surface. This was supported by experiments where the addition of mono (K(+)) and divalent (Ca(+2)) cations (0.005-0.05M) reduced the killing efficacy of HSP but not HP. Experiments designed to distinguish any inhibitory effect of silver from that of peroxide in HSP were carried out by monitoring the metabolic activity of established P. aeruginosa PAO1 biofilms. Concentrations of 70-500 ppm HSP had a pronounced effect on metabolic activity while the equivalent concentrations of ionic silver (50- 375 ppb) had a negligible effect, demonstrating that the microbiocidal activity of HSP was due to peroxide rather than silver. Overall, it was found that the antimicrobial activity of HSP is enhanced over that of hydrogen peroxide; the presence of the ionic silver enhances interactions of HSP with the bacterial cell surface rather than acting directly as a biocide at the tested concentrations. (Read More)