Species-specific antifungal activity of blue light

Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 4;7(1):4605. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-05000-0.


Fungal pathogens represent a significant threat to immunocompromised patients or individuals with traumatic injury. Strategies to efficiently remove fungal spores from hospital surfaces and, ideally, patient skin thus offer the prospect of dramatically reducing infections in at-risk patients. Photodynamic inactivation of microbial cells using light holds considerable potential as a non-invasive, minimally destructive disinfection strategy. Recent data indicate that high-intensity blue light effectively removes bacteria from surfaces, but its efficacy against fungi has not been fully tested. Here we test a wide range of fungi that are pathogenic to humans and demonstrate that blue light is effective against some, but not all, fungal species. We additionally note that secondary heating effects are a previously unrecognized confounding factor in establishing the antimicrobial activity of blue light. Thus blue light holds promise for the sterilization of clinical surfaces, but requires further optimization prior to widespread use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / radiation effects
  • Disinfection / methods*
  • Fungi / classification
  • Fungi / growth & development
  • Fungi / radiation effects*
  • Light
  • Mice
  • Microbial Viability / radiation effects
  • Species Specificity
  • Spores, Fungal / radiation effects