Methyl Iodide Fumigation of Bacillus anthracis Spores

Fumigation techniques such as chlorine dioxide, vaporous hydrogen peroxide, and paraformaldehyde previously used to decontaminate items, rooms, and buildings following contamination with Bacillus anthracis spores are often incompatible with materials (e.g., porous surfaces, organics, and metals), causing damage or residue. Alternative fumigation with methyl bromide is subject to U.S. and international restrictions due to its ozone-depleting properties. Methyl iodide, however, does not pose a risk to the ozone layer and has previously been demonstrated as a fumigant for fungi, insects, and nematodes. Until now, methyl iodide has not been evaluated against Bacillus anthracis. Sterne strain Bacillus anthracis spores were subjected to methyl iodide fumigation at room temperature and at 55°C. Efficacy was measured on a log-scale with a 6-log reduction in CFUs being considered successful compared to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency biocide standard. Such efficacies were obtained after just one hour at 55°C and after 12 hours at room temperature. No detrimental effects were observed on glassware, PTFE O-rings, or stainless steel. This is the first reported efficacy of methyl iodide in the reduction of Bacillus anthracis spore contamination at ambient and elevated temperatures.

Speaker / Author: 
Mark Sutton, PhD
Staci R. Kane, MS, PhD
Jessica R. Wollard
Page #: 
Publication Month: 
September 2105
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