Biocidal and sporicidal smoke grenade

Generates iodine gas or smoke as the primary biocidal agent, as well as metal oxides for enhanced biological agent decontamination


Antimicrobials could be deployed in a device similar to this smoke grenade.

Army scientists have developed a new biocidal smoke composition. The technology is available to businesses for the development of new products. Interested parties can contact TechLink for more information.

Iodine-containing compounds are some of the most commonly used antimicrobial agents. Likewise, smoke fumigators are commonly used products to eradicate pests in the home and in greenhouses. However, there exist no pyrotechnic systems designed to generate iodine vapor from metal fuels and iodine oxides. Other halogenated fumigants, such as chlorine dioxide and methyl bromide, have been shown to be biocidal and sporicidal, but these fumigants are not pyrotechnically derived, resulting in more complicated production requirements.

In combination with particular metals, iodine compounds show enhanced antimicrobial activity. As a mechanism of action, low concentrations of iodine and heavy metals have been shown to cause the precipitation of cell proteins resulting in cell death and oligodynamic metals (copper) cause cell membrane destruction as well as coagulation of cell materials.

Advantageously, these metal/iodine oxide compounds readily and thoroughly react when provided an ignition source to produce iodine vapor and metal oxide. The use of certain metals such as brass (copper/zinc blend), aluminum, copper, iron, and ferrotitanium (iron/titanium blend) provide an additional layer of antimicrobial effect as each of these metals have biocidal properties, as well as their metal oxide being biocidal.

With this knowledge, Army scientists have developed a new biocidal smoke composition that utilizes iodine pentoxide as the oxidizer and metal powder as the fuel. The chemical reaction for the production of the biocidal smoke cloud is a simple two reactant, two product system. The metal powder reacts immediately with the oxygen in the iodine material, producing a combination of metal oxide and iodine vapor. The iodine vapor has an immediate and effective biocidal activity that can be used to destroy infectious agents or other biological organisms upon contact.

The target bacterial organisms include Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus anthracis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobcter baumannii, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus globigii, Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, Br. melitensis, Burkholderia pseudamallei, C. botulinum, and Burkholderia mallei. Additional targets include bacterial spores, such as a spore of Bacillus anthracis or Bacillus thuringiensis var. Kurstaki.

The composition is suitable for military use in hand grenades, smoke pots, rifle grenades, mortars, multiple launch grenades, shoulder-fired missiles, and artillery rounds, as well as in first responder and commercial biological decontamination applications.

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