Light as a broad spectrum antimicrobial

Maurice Gallagher, Peter Gwynne

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Antimicrobial resistance is a significant and growing concern. To continue to treat even simple infections, there is a pressing need for new alternative and complementary approaches to antimicrobial therapy. One possible addition to the current range of treatments is the use of narrow-wavelength light as an antimicrobial, which has been shown to eliminate a range of common pathogens. Much progress has already been made with blue light but the potential of other regions of the electromagnetic spectrum is largely unexplored. In order that the approach can be fully and most effectively realized, further research is also required into the effects of energy dose, the harmful and beneficial impacts of light on eukaryotic tissues, and the role of oxygen in eliciting microbial toxicity. These and other topics are discussed within this perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9:119
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue number119
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2018


  • antimicrobials
  • blue light
  • infection
  • infrared
  • photosensitizers
  • phototherapy
  • resistance
  • ultraviolet

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