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They are water-in-oil mixed with high shear forces.
They are ~ 400-800 nm in diameter.
They fuse with cell membrane of microorganisms
resulting in
cell lysis.
Very effective in killing:

Bacterial spores, 

Enveloped viruses, and

Fungal spores.
They are effective at preventing illness in individuals, when used both before and after exposure to the infective agent.
They could be used: 

As an irrigant (IM and SC), 

As an inhalant.
  • They are also effective for decontamination of surfaces, particularly in commercial food processing areas.

  • These properties provide a flexibility that will be useful for a broad range of decontamination applications.

  • Unlike all other disinfectants, they are completely non-toxic, and non-corrosive.

  • They are composed of ingredients which are either foods, e.g. vegetable oil; or are on the FDA Generally Recognized As Safe list of food ingredients.
  • The nanoemulsions can be rapidly produced in large quantities and are stable for many months at room temperature. (Freezing causes separation of the oil and water phases).

  • Undiluted, they have the texture of a semi-solid cream and can be applied topically by hand. Mixed with water to dilute, they have a consistency and appearance similar to skim milk, and can be sprayed on surfaces to decontaminate them.
  • To date, over a hundred different formulations have been made and tested. The specific formulation to use will depend on the particular use.

  • Further studies are underway to determine the exact mechanism of the bactericidal effect of nanoemulsions. Knowing the mechanism may lead to further improvement in the formulations.


Bacterial contamination of food represents one of the major public health problems worldwide. Food contamination is endemic in underdeveloped countries. It is also a major source of illness in developed countries including the United States. The CDC estimates over 325,000 hospitalizations, and 15,000 deaths in the U.S. annually, with costs estimated to be $3 to $7 billion annually. Salmonellae, are common food borne bacteria, and are associated with eating contaminated eggs and poultry.

Surfaces that come in contact with food during processing are a significant source of bacterial contamination. The image shows samples of surface material being tested to see how well nanoemulsions reduce the bacterial count.

Consumption of contaminated food results in a high percentage of food borne infections caused by enteric pathogens. This results in a high rate of morbidity and mortality. This problem is much higher in developing contires.

Namoemulsions are effective against a variety of food pathogens including Gram-negative bacteria.

They can be used for surface decontamination of food processing plants and for recuction of surface contamination of chicken skin.

Salmonella typhimurium is a major cause of food borne illness, causing an estimated 10,000 deaths a year in the United States. The images are of two petri dishes that were both seeded with Salmonella. The one on the left was also treated with namoemulsion. The growth of bacteria colonies has been eliminated by treatment with nanoemulsion.







For questions or comments regarding this page please contact: Last update October 23, 2001 4:16 PM