The Efficacy of Vaporous Hydrogen Peroxide and Gaseous Chlorine Dioxide in the Detoxification of Ricin and Bacillus anthracis Lethal Factor and Protective Antigen
Gordon Pappas, Diane
Biological toxins such as ricin and the Bacillus anthracis toxins have become an increasing bioterrorism threat due to the relative availability, extreme potency and ease of production of these agents. Extensive research has been conducted investigating methods for decontaminating spaces affected by biological agents such as bacteria and viruses, but little research has been done to determine the efficacy of these methods on toxins. The efficacy of gaseous chlorine dioxide (GCD) and vaporous hydrogen peroxide (VHP) at inactivating ricin and B. anthracis lethal factor and protective antigen was tested. The presence and activity of the toxins after exposure to the decontamination methods was detected using a cytotoxicity assay and protein gel electrophoresis. Both VHP and GCD were found to be effective at detoxifying the anthrax toxins within a short exposure, with close to complete inactivation observed during longer exposures. Ricin proved to be more resistant to inactivation, with longer exposures needed to achieve similar levels of detoxification to the anthrax toxins. Overall, GCD and VHP have great potential for use in inactivating biological toxins.