The current approach to reducing bacterial contamination in blood transfusion products is through detection or pathogen reduction methods, some of which utilize ultraviolet (UV) light photosensitizers. A small number of photosensitizers are being used as single agents in combination with UV light, but their efficacy can be limited against some pathogens. Benzophenone (BP) and vitamins B1, B6, and K3 have been identified as effective UVA photosensitizers for inactivation of bacteria. We evaluated whether combining pairs of photosensitizers in this group would have synergistic bactericidal effects on Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria.
Bacteria species of Escherichia coli, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, and Klebsiella pneumoniae were mixed with 0 to 100 mM concentrations of photosensitizers and exposed to UVA irradiation at 18 J/cm to assess their bactericidal effects.
Single photosensitizers irradiated with UVA produced a range of bactericidal activity. When combined in pairs, all demonstrated some synergistic bactericidal effects with up to 4-log reduction above the sum of activities of individual molecules in the pair against bacteria in plasma. Photosensitizer pairs with BP had the highest synergism across all bacteria. With vitamin K3 in the pair, synergism was evident for Gram-positive but not for Gram-negative bacteria. Vitamin B1 and vitamin B6 had the least synergism. These results indicate that a combination approach with multiple photosensitizers may extend effectiveness of pathogen reduction in plasma.
Combining photosensitizers in pathogen reduction methods could improve bactericidal efficacy and lead to use of lower concentrations of photosensitizers to reduce toxicities and unwanted side effects.

© 2020 AABB.