2014-050 – Enhanced Biocidal Activity of Negatively-Charged Oligomeric Phenylene Ethynylenes (OPE’s)


The problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has become a substantial burden for healthcare providers in the last few decades. Hospitals in the United States have seen a drastic increase in cases of patients acquiring infections of antibiotic-resistant bacteria—both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria—to the extent that 1.7 million hospital-acquired infections are documented annually. Several large-scale studies have shown that exposure to antibiotics can increase the chances of acquiring such an infection in a hospital environment since antibiotics kill most of the natural flora of the body while allowing the antibiotic-resistant bacteria to thrive. Thus, the development of novel antibiotics or bactericides that do not induce resistance in targeted pathogens is vital for effective treatment of many types of nosocomial infections.

Technology Description

Researchers at the University of New Mexico have developed a surfactant complex that is able to withstand prolonged periods of irradiation, continuing to effectively kill both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, while the oligomer by itself loses its biocidal effectiveness quickly in the presence of light. This novel technology has demonstrated that complexation with surfactants is a viable method for long-term light-activated biocidal applications.


  • Effective for both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria
  • Resistant for prolonged irradiation
  • Effective treatment for nosocomial infections
  • Enhanced lifetime of biocides
  • Applications in long-term light-activated biocidal
  • Possible application for lifetime enhancement of sensors, dyes, and organic LEDs

Potential Applications

  • Sensors
  • Dyes
  • Organic LEDs
  • Biocide
  • Decontamination
  • Disinfectant
  • Antimicrobial Treatments
    • Hospital Garments
    • Medical Devices
    • Filtration Systems
    • Surgical Instruments

Contact Information

Name: Gregg Banninger

Email: GBanninger@innovations.unm.edu

Phone: 505-272-7908