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Antimicrobial molecules found in wood waste could make more effective, sustainable disinfectant

According to a report published in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a bio-liquid obtained from sawdust was able to kill more than 99% of microbes, including pathogens like E. coli, a gut microbe that can cause several illnesses, and Staphylococcus epidermis, an opportunistic pathogen.

This substance contained high concentrations of phenol-like compounds, and when used as a disinfectant, it was equally effective at inactivating anthrax bacteria and several influenza viruses. Unlike many other commonly used disinfectants, it could also inactivate the spores of Bacillus subtilis - a spore-forming bacteria.

While the world deals with the severe global problem of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) as several multi-drug resistance pathogens emerge and scientists urge policymakers and the health community to take action, the news about the antimicrobial molecules found in wood waste is of paramount importance.

Widely used chemical and chlorine-containing disinfectants like bleach are known to cause both environmental and health hazards. News of a substance that can help make more effective, sustainable, greener disinfectants leaves scientists hopeful that such natural alternatives would prove highly valuable in preventing AMR and lowering the hazards of other disinfectants.

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