iodine, disinfection, vapor, MRSA, waste, hospital, povidone, polymer


Povidone-iodine is an antiseptic that is frequently used to clean skin prior to surgery. Current FDA regulations require that hospitals dispense povidone-iodine from single-use bottles, rather than large, multi-use containers, to prevent microbial contamination. This results in hospitals generating lots of product waste. However, if povidone-iodine vapor can kill microbes, then multi-use containers may be safe to use, since any bacteria that contaminated the inside of the container would soon die. The purpose of this research was to determine whether vapor from povidone-iodine could kill methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a common cause of hospital-associated infections.

In summary, this experiment demonstrated that the povidone-iodine vapor killed MRSA in a time-dependent manner; most samples demonstrated a 5-log reduction after 80 minutes of povidone-iodine vapor exposure. This bacterial death is likely caused by volatilized iodine, which is surprising, as a typical povidone-iodine solution only has approximately 1% available iodine in solution. Iodine is moderately volatile, having roughly the same heat of vaporization as water (41.57 kJ/mol). A typical multi-use povidone-iodine container probably has a significant amount of iodine vapor inside, making it unlikely to support microbial contamination for very long. It may be possible to safely re-use povidone-iodine containers in a controlled manner.

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Life Sciences


Microbiology and Molecular Biology

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Microbiology Commons