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Impact of material properties in determining quaternary ammonium compound adsorption and wipe product efficacy against biofilms

Pascoe, M. J. ORCID:, Mandal, S. ORCID:, Williams, O. A. ORCID: and Maillard, J. -Y. ORCID: 2022. Impact of material properties in determining quaternary ammonium compound adsorption and wipe product efficacy against biofilms. Journal of Hospital Infection 126 , pp. 37-43. 10.1016/j.jhin.2022.03.013

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Background Disinfectant wipes containing quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) are widely used within healthcare. Viscose remains a popular material for these products, though limited information is available concerning its impact on performance against biofilms when compared to alternatives. Aim Identify disinfectant wipe materials and surface properties which optimise product performance against biofilms. Methods Biofilm eradication performance of two commercial viscose-QAC wipes was determined against Staphylococcus aureus and Acinetobacter baumannii dry surface biofilms (DSBs), using an ASTM E2967-based procedure. Additionally, five materials were impregnated with a commercial liquid formulation containing didecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC). Following 24-hour storage, eradication performance and DDAC content of extracted liquid were determined and compared to material properties including zeta potential, hydrophobicity and surface area. Findings Under stringent test conditions, eradication of DSBs by commercial products was no greater than equivalent materials impregnated with water. Extract from one viscose-based product contained 89% less DDAC than the impregnation solution, indicating extensive adsorption. Of the other tested materials, viscose performed worst; nearly 70% of DDAC had depleted from material extracts within 24-hours. In contrast, DDAC depletion from polypropylene (PP) extracts was only 25% and DSB eradication was >100-times greater than viscose. Biofilm eradication performance against both species correlated to the DDAC content of extracts which, in turn, correlated to zeta potential and hydrophobicity. Conclusion Biofilm eradication performance of QAC-based wipes was significantly greater when selecting thermoplastic substrates over viscose. However, these materials are non-sustainably sourced and non-biodegradable. This study highlights a need to develop new wipe products more effective against biofilms.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Chemistry
Physics and Astronomy
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0195-6701
Funders: EPSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 April 2022
Date of Acceptance: 31 March 2022
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2024 02:25

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