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Catalysts ; 12(8):856, 2022.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-2023199


Legionella pneumophila (L. pneumophila) is the causative agent of Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever, collectively known as legionellosis. L. pneumophila infection occurs through inhalation of contaminated aerosols from water systems in workplaces and institutions. The development of disinfectants that can eliminate L. pneumophila in such water systems without evacuating people is needed to prevent the spread of L. pneumophila. Photocatalysts are attractive disinfectants that do not harm human health. In particular, the TiO2 photocatalyst kills L. pneumophila under various conditions, but its mode of action is unknown. Here, we confirmed the high performance of TiO2 photocatalyst containing PtO2 via the degradation of methylene blue (half-value period: 19.2 min) and bactericidal activity against Escherichia coli (half-value period: 15.1 min) in water. Using transmission electron microscopy, we demonstrate that the disinfection of L. pneumophila (half-value period: 6.7 min) by TiO2 photocatalyst in water is accompanied by remarkable cellular membrane and internal damage to L. pneumophila. Assays with limulus amebocyte lysate and silver staining showed the release of endotoxin from L. pneumophila due to membrane damage and photocatalytic degradation of this endotoxin. This is the first study to demonstrate the disinfection mechanisms of TiO2 photocatalyst, namely, via morphological changes and membrane damage of L. pneumophila. Our results suggest that TiO2 photocatalyst might be effective in controlling the spread of L. pneumophila.