Disinfection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm contaminated tube lumens with ultraviolet C light emitting diodes

Jimmy Bak, S.D. Ladefoged, M. Tvede, Tanja Begovic, A. Gregersen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Bacterial biofilms on long-term catheters are a major source of infection. Exposure to ultraviolet C (UVC - 265 nm) light was shown in an earlier study to reduce the number of bacteria substantially on ex vivo treated urinary patient catheters. Very large doses ( long treatment times) should, however, be applied to obtain 99.9% disinfection rates. The major reason was that besides cells the mature biofilm contained absorbing and scattering particulates, which made the biofilm opaque. The potential of UVC light emitting diodes ( LED) for disinfection purposes in catheter-like tubes contaminated with biofilm was investigated. It was shown that UVC light propagation was possible through both Teflon and catheter tubes ( silicone). The disinfection efficiency of the diodes was demonstrated on tubes contaminated artificially with a Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm. The tubes were connected to a flow system and biofilms were produced during a 3 day period. Tubes in lengths of 10 ( Teflon, silicone) and 20 cm ( Teflon) were contaminated. Tubes for control and for UVC treatment were contaminated in parallel. Biofilms were sampled from the total inner surface of the tubes. Colony counts on the control samples were in the range of 5 x 10(5)-1.3 x 10(9) CFU ml(-1), with disinfection rates in the range 96-100%. The applied UVC doses corresponded to treatment times between 15 and 300 min. Disinfection (100%) was obtained in 10 cm Teflon tubes exposed for 30 min (detection limit
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)31-38
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • light propagation in tubes
  • catheter lumen
  • catheters
  • UVC transmittance in polymer tubes
  • ultraviolet light
  • LED
  • peritoneal dialysis catheter
  • refractive index of NaCl solution
  • sterilization
  • biofilm
  • disinfection
  • liquid light guide
  • UVC
  • silicone tubes
  • light emitting diodes
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • FEP Teflon tubes
  • tubes

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