The WSU researchers for
the first time demonstrated
the electrochemical reaction
produces hydrogen per-
oxide, an effective disin-
fectant, at the electrode
¡°We have been doing fun-
damental research on this
for many years, and finally,
we are able to transfer it to
technology,¡¯¡¯ said Beyenal.
¡°It¡¯s really exciting.¡¯¡¯
The researchers optimized
the reaction and developed
an ¡°e-scaffold,¡± a sort of
electronic Band-Aid made
out of conductive carbon
By running electrical current
through the fabric, they produced a low and constant concentration of
hydrogen peroxide to kill the bugs.
The bacteria are unable to develop resistance to such an electrochemical
¡°Many people have tried this simple method (in the past),¡¯¡¯ said Beyenal.
¡°Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn¡¯t.¡±
¡°We controlled the electrochemical reactions,¡± continued Beyenal, ¡°That¡¯s
the reason it works.¡¯¡¯
The researchers have applied for a patent and are now working to in-
crease the e-scaffold¡¯s effectiveness and test it with a variety of bacterial
The work was led by Sujala T. Sultana, a graduate student in the Voiland
School, and included other researchers from the Voiland School, the WSU
Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, the Washington
Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, and WSU¡¯s Paul G. Allen School for
Global Animal Health.
The work was supported by Beyenal¡¯s National Science Foundation
CAREER award [Award number: 0954186].
(By Tina Hilding, Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture.
Contact: Haluk Beyenal, professor, Gene and Linda Voiland School of
Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, 509.335.6607, email:
Antibiotic Alternative To Treat Infections Developed
Electronic ¡®Band-Aid¡¯ produces hydrogen peroxide that kills the bugs
for free... Pg 10
Where did I put my
A healthy dose of
gratitude... Pg 6
Pullman, Wash., November
10, 2015: Washington State
University researchers for the
first time have discovered how
electrical stimulation works
for the treatment of bacterial
infections, paving the way for a
viable alternative to medicinal
The researchers passed an
electric current over a film of
bacteria and in 24 hours killed
almost all of a multi-drug re-
sistant bacterium that is often
present in difficult-to-treat in-
fections. The remaining bacte-
rial population was 1/10,000th
of its original size.
The researchers also tested the
method on pig tissue, where it
2015 DEC/JAN #6-11
killed most of the bacteria and did not damage surrounding tissue.
The research appears in Nature Scientific Reports, an open-access on-
line journal from the publishers of Nature.(www.nature.com/articles/
In the U.S. at least two million infections and
23,000 deaths are attributable to antibiotic-
resistant bacteria each year - Centers for Disease Control.
Researchers have tried treating infected wounds with electrical stimulation
for more than a century but with mixed results.
For obvious reasons, antibiotics have been the preferred and most effec-
tive treatment for infections, but their widespread use has led to drug-
In the U.S. at least two million infections and 23,000 deaths are attribut-
able to antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, according to the Centers for
¡°Electrical stimulation has had mixed results against bacteria, but this is
probably due in part because people didn¡¯t have a clear understanding of
how it works electrochemically,¡± said Haluk Beyenal, co-author of the pa-
per and a professor in WSU¡¯s Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical
Engineering and Bioengineering.