Selected ESR: Valeria Angarano
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Supervisor Name: Jan F.M. Van Impe

Industrial Supervisors: Andre Chieffi

Recruiting Organisation: Katholique Universiteit Leuven, Belgium



Develop a light treatment approach to enhance removal of biological soils on surfaces


Effect of light on biological samples deposited on different consumer relevant surfaces



Bacteria are ubiquitous and they may cause clinical infections (e.g., in catheters or needles), corrosion, loss of efficiency in different processes (e.g., water process, bleaching teeth processes). Nowadays, many antimicrobial agents (e.g., ampicillin, ciprofloxacin) are used to avoid bacterial infections. However, when bacteria attack a surface and grow as resistant biofilms, they become less susceptible to biocides and disinfectants. Current research in the field aims to provide alternative solutions to tackle this problem, by chemical and also by physical means. An alternative solution could be the utilization of light to kill or facilitate the detachment of biofilms from different consumer relevant surfaces, whether or not in synergy chemicals. Light treatments exhibit various advantages. They are environmentally friendly and easy to use, making them extremely desirable for the food or medical industry. They could represent a new way to tackle the biofilm problematics. The use of cheaper light sources (e.g., LED - Light Emitting Diodes) represents a future perspective for the realization of household devices or small hospital devices for photodynamic inactivation. The forward-thinking objective is to understand weather and how the presence of light can eventually enhance the antibacterial action of chemical products in hospital environment, industries or consumer relevant surfaces. These synergic strategy could bring to the reduction of the active chemical dose needed in detergents for the cleansing of surfaces for consumers and industries. The reduction of active chemical dose when the light is on, having the same effectiveness of the normal dosage, will bring also to a reduction of chemicals in wastewater guaranteeing a positive effect on the global environment.