The resistance of Bacillus atrophaeus spores to the bactericidal activity of peracetic acid is influenced by both the nature of the solid substrates and the mode of contamination


Murielle Naïtali, AgroParisTech, INRA, UMR1319 Micalis, Equipe Bioadhésion, Biofilm et Hygiène des Matériaux, 25 avenue de la République, 91300 Massy, France. E-mail:


Aims:  To evaluate the impact of the mode of contamination in relation with the nature of solid substrates on the resistance of spores of Bacillus atrophaeus -selected as surrogates of Bacillus anthracis- to a disinfectant, peracetic acid.

Methods and Results:  Six materials confronted in urban and military environments were selected for their different structural and physicochemical properties. In parallel, two modes of contamination were examined, i.e. deposition and immersion. Deposition was used to simulate contamination by an aerosol and immersion by an extended contact with liquids. A pronounced difference in the biocontamination levels and spatial organization of spores was observed depending on the mode of contamination and the nature of the solid substrate considered, with consequences on decontamination. Contamination by immersion led to lower efficiency of peracetic acid decontamination than contamination by deposition. Infiltration of spores into porous materials after immersion is one reason. In contrast, the deposition mode aggregates cells at the surface of materials, explaining the similar disinfecting behaviour of porous and nonporous substrates when considering this inoculation route.

Conclusions:  The inoculation route was shown to be as influential a parameter as material characteristics (porosity and wettability) for decontamination efficacy.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  These results provide comparative information for the decontamination of B. atrophaeus spores in function of the mode of contamination and the nature of solid substrates.