Effects of 630-, 660-, 810-, and 905-nm laser irradiation delivering radiant exposure of 1-50 J/cm2 on three species of bacteria in vitro

J Clin Laser Med Surg. 2002 Dec;20(6):325-33. doi: 10.1089/104454702320901116.


Objective: To examine the effects of low-intensity laser therapy (LILT) on bacterial growth in vitro.

Background data: LILT is undergoing investigation as a treatment for accelerating healing of open wounds. The potential of coincident effects on wound bacteria has received little attention. Increased bacterial proliferation could further delay recovery; conversely inhibition could be beneficial.

Materials and methods: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus aureus were plated on agar and then irradiated with wavelengths of 630, 660, 810, and 905 nm (0.015 W/cm(2)) and radiant exposures of 1-50 J/cm(2). In addition, E. coli was irradiated with 810 nm at an irradiance of 0.03 W/cm(2) (1-50 J/cm(2)). Cells were counted after 20 h of incubation post LILT. Repeated measures ANOVA and Tukey adjusted post hoc tests were used for analysis.

Results: There were interactions between wavelength and species (p = 0.0001) and between wavelength and radiant exposure (p = 0.007) in the overall effects on bacterial growth; therefore, individual wavelengths were analyzed. Over all types of bacteria, there were overall growth effects using 810- and 630-nm lasers, with species differences at 630 nm. Effects occurred at low radiant exposures (1-20 J/cm(2)). Overall effects were marginal using 660 nm and negative at 905 nm. Inhibition of P. aeruginosa followed irradiation using 810 nm at 5 J/cm(2) (-23%; p = 0.02). Irradiation using 630 nm at 1 J/cm(2) inhibited P. aeruginosa and E. coli (-27%). Irradiation using 810 nm (0.015 W/cm(2)) increased E. coli growth, but with increased irradiance (0.03 W/cm(2)) the growth was significant (p = 0.04), reaching 30% at 20 J/cm(2) (p = 0.01). S. aureus growth increased 27% following 905-nm irradiation at 50 J/cm(2).

Conclusion: LILT applied to wounds, delivering commonly used wavelengths and radiant exposures in the range of 1-20 J/cm(2), could produce changes in bacterial growth of considerable importance for wound healing. A wavelength of 630 nm appeared to be most commonly associated with bacterial inhibition. The findings of this study might be useful as a basis for selecting LILT for infected wounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Escherichia coli / radiation effects*
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / radiation effects*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / radiation effects*
  • Wound Healing / radiation effects
  • Wound Infection / radiotherapy