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SCIENCE

Despite enormous investments in eradication research, bacterial pathogens transmitted from surface contact, in food, water, and from other environmental sources remain a major cause of illness in both developed and developing cultures. Examples of such infectious pathogens include bacteria such as Salmonella, Escherichia, Shigella, Listeria and the insidious and highly deadly methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

However, when these selected bacterial pathogens, all commonly associated with hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), were exposed to illumiPure’s TruWhite™ 405-nm LED array, the results showed that both gram-positive and gram-negative species were successfully inactivated. These results, which even showed the inactivation of the highly lethal methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), demonstrate that our patented TruWhite™ narrow-spectrum 405-nm LED illumination provides an evolutionary decontamination method with a wide range of potential applications.

So how does it work?

  • The 405nm light wavelength emitted from illumiPure’s TruWhite™ disinfecting LEDs shines onto surfaces and penitrates harmful micro-organisms.
  • The light targets naturally occurring molecules that exist inside bacteria called porphyrins. The light is absorbed and the affected porphyrins produce a Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) inside the cell.
  • This ROS chemical reaction created inside the cell by the TruWhite™ wavelength produces an effect that is similar to those that occur when using bleach.
  • The Reactive Oxygen Species inactivates the bacteria, preventing it from re-populating the surface or traveling to further surfaces or hosts.

But that’s not it!

Just as important as health disinfection is food hygiene and safety. Efficient elimination of harmful molds and bacteria is vital in the greenhouse and vertical growing market as consumers require produce that is ready-to-eat, preservative-free and with a long shelf life.

illumiPure TruWhite™ LEDs also treat the growth of molds and fungi. Until recently there is very little information on the fungistatic or fungicidal effect of visible light. This is the case for example with Grey mold (Botrytis cinerea), which is a very successful necrotroph, causing serious commercial losses in more than 200 crop hosts.  Recent studies have investigated the effect of 405nm light on this economically important fungus Botrytis cinerea. It has been proved that the mycelial growth of B. cinerea can be inhibited to the greatest extent by light at 405nm. This is also one dominating wavelength used in Lumichip’s fungicidal LEDs. It has been further proved that gray mold growth is negligibly inactivated with 450nm the dominating wavelength in typical LED growth lights. Advanced scientific research now suggests that the presence of photoactive compound that absorbs light mainly at wavelengths of 405nm deactivates the growth of grey mold..

These results suggest that the excitation of photon absorbing chemical components and subsequent accumulation of singlet oxygen explain the 405nm light-mediated photoinactivation of B. cinerea. For example in the case of tomato the development of symptoms in the plants inoculated with B. cinerea spores was significantly reduced or eliminated by irradiation with LED lights also comprising 405nm wavelength light. Hence it has been proved that LED lights used in crop and horticulture also comprising 405nm light has a significant impact in use for controlling plant diseases caused by B. cinerea and resulting in significant yield increase in commercial greenhouse and crop food factories.

Modern food production processes require both equipment and surfaces to be de-contaminated from residue, foreign bodies, harmful fungi, viruses and bacteria. On average grey mold kills over 30% of the urban farms yields, and once present in many individual cases the mold damage is 100% of the crop. It is also estimated that approximately 20% of all vegetables produced are lost due to microbial spoilage. Contaminants do not just reduce product quality and cause spoilage but also can be life threatening in case of e.coli, salmonella, listeria, norovirus and other pathogens. CDC statistics show that lettuce and other leafy vegetables are the largest source of food-borne contamination in the U.S. About 2.2 million people get sick annually from eating contaminated leafy vegetables, which is greater than the number of illnesses caused by contaminated beef, pork, poultry and other meat combined. Traditional cleaning with water solutions is just a prerequisite to disinfection and does not guarantee decontamination and disinfection.

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