Compositions for Chemical and Biological Defense

Technology #12660

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Scheme 1 depicts a substrate bonded to a cluster. The cluster is connected to one or more reactive groups through one or more linkers. Several linkers can be bonded to a single cluster; and the cluster can be attached to the substrate through one or more bonds. By this approach, a large number of reactive groups can be connected to a substrate.
Professor Alan Hatton
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
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Lev Bromberg
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
Huan Zhang
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
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Jim Freedman
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Chemicals, Instruments, Consumer Products
Patent Protection

Compositions for chemical and biological defense

US Patent 8,772,197
Preparation and applications of catalytic magnetic nanoparticles
Massachusetts Institute of Technology PhD Thesis, 2009


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.

Problem Addressed

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