Organophosphates (OPs) are a type of toxic compound used in insecticides, herbicides and nerve agents for chemical warfare. They pose a great risk to human health and the environment, resulting in an estimated 300,000 deaths and casualties a year. This technology introduces chemical compositions for the decontamination of OPs.
In addition, the same chemical structures introduced here can be used to decontaminate bacteria such as enterococcus faecalis, which is prevalent in hospital infections.
Various methods currently exist to decontaminate OPs — such as oxidizers to displace phosphorous atoms in the compound, metal ions or enzymes to catalyze the hydrolysis of the compound, or magnetic nanoparticles to ease the separation of the compound. However, regardless of the specific method chosen, all of these approaches require extensive synthesis and pre-treatment of the substrates they are used on (such as a protective clothing liner, air filter, or colloidal dispersion in water bodies).
The current technology provides a simplified means of attaching multiple OP-degrading compounds (termed as "reactive groups") to a variety of substrates. As aforementioned, this method can also be used to attach bactericidal reactive groups, so as to combat bacterial infections.
The addition of the reactive group to the substrate is achieved by first bonding the substrate to a "cluster" (referring to a small group of atoms or molecules such as metal oxides), then bonding this cluster to the reactive group using a "linker" (such as an alkylene chain, or a continuous chain of covalently bonded atoms). With this structure, a large number of reactive groups can be attached to the same substrate, limited only by the available space on each segment. The technology describes feasible combinations clusters, links and reactive groups, and methods for modifying the substrate to enable attachment.
- Simplifies the synthesis of OP and bacteria decontaminants