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Removal of eDNA from fabrics using a novel laundry DNase revealed using high-resolution imaging

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Hamish Yau, Dr Ana Morales Garcia, Professor William WillatsORCiD, Dr Neil Lant



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021, The Author(s).Washed textiles can remain malodorous and dingy due to the recalcitrance of soils. Recent work has found that ‘invisible’ soils such as microbial extracellular DNA (eDNA) play a key role in the adhesion of extracellular polymeric substances that form matrixes contributing to these undesirable characteristics. Here we report the application of an immunostaining method to illustrate the cleaning mechanism of a nuclease (DNase I) acting upon eDNA. Extending previous work that established a key role for eDNA in anchoring these soil matrixes, this work provides new insights into the presence and effective removal of eDNA deposited on fabrics using high-resolution in-situ imaging. Using a monoclonal antibody specific to Z-DNA, we showed that when fabrics are washed with DNase I, the incidence of microbial eDNA is reduced. As well as a quantitative reduction in microbial eDNA, the deep cleaning benefits of this enzyme are shown using confocal microscopy and imaging analysis of T-shirt fibers. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time the use of a molecular probe has been leveraged for fabric and homecare-related R&D to visualize eDNA and evaluate its removal from textiles by a new-to-laundry DNase enzyme. The approaches described in the current work also have scope for re-application to identify further cleaning technology.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Yau HCL, Malekpour AK, Momin NG, Morales-Garcia AL, Willats WGT, Lant NJ, Jones CY

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Scientific Reports

Year: 2021

Volume: 11

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 02/11/2021

Acceptance date: 07/09/2021

Date deposited: 17/11/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2045-2322

Publisher: Nature Research


DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-98939-0


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Funder referenceFunder name
KTP 1025989
the North of Tyne Combined Authority NoTCA