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GEMX: Green and biodegradable emulsion for rapid destruction of bacteria

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An overwhelming majority of disinfectants currently available on the market, i.e. more than 70%, come from formulas based on oxidizing agents, peroxides, chlorinated products or on active molecules from the quaternary ammonium family. All are highly corrosive products and their massive use, especially in water, accentuated due to the meteoric and global spread of the 2019 coronavirus disease, has contributed to amplifying the already existing problem of the emergence of bacterial resistance. The highly corrosive nature of traditional disinfectants poses serious risks to human and environmental health, particularly in settings where their use is frequent. In addition, their use must be moderated or even avoided for certain types of installations since these products remain aggressive towards even the stainless steels most commonly used in industries.

These major issues are pushing industrial, state and other actors to actively seek alternatives to traditional disinfectants for the rapid destruction of bacteria. We are thus proposing an ecological solution to these challenges, by establishing a disinfectant emulsion whose biodegradation speed can be adapted to specific needs.


We have developed the disinfectant (GemX), an emulsion formulated using essential oils (EO) and a molecule acting as a biodegradable surfactant from the family of ionic liquids (IL). The biological activity of LIs is well known in the pharmaceutical and medical industry, at the level of the coating and of the active molecules as well as their distribution in the body. Also known to bacteria for their lethal effects, LIs demonstrate a chemical structure that suggests the possibility of programmed biodegradability.

In combination with essential oils and their known bactericidal properties, ionic liquids allow the creation of doubly destructive emulsions. In order to guarantee an effective interaction with a given pathogen, the diameter of each nanomicelle must be smaller than the average size of the targeted pathogen. While one can aim for 100 nm for effective action against bacteria, a 10-20 nm nanomicelle will be required against a virus. The challenge thus consists in determining the ideal conditions allowing the formation of the desired emulsion, in particular in terms of stability and the appropriate rate of biodegradation.



  • Optimum efficiency for every industry

  • Ease of transport and storage

  • Ease of application

  • Competitive costs for a top quality product


  •  Water Soluble

  • No alcohol solvent required

  • No corrosion

  • Biodegradable and ecological

  • Rapid bactericidal and virucidal effect


  •   Food industry

  • Water cooling towers

  • Field of health

  • Domestic and commercial disinfection

  • Wastewater disinfection



The introduction of highly effective, non-corrosive and biodegradable disinfectant products is becoming a critical issue to preserve human health, the environment and the integrity of our infrastructures. It will certainly represent a paradigm shift in a multitude of industries, such as food, agriculture, wastewater treatment, large swimming pools and spas, and any other sector called upon to consume large quantities of water. .

Our experiments have provided innovative proof of concept of bactericidal properties of LI-HE emulsions, some of which are produced from synthetic and custom-made LI. In particular, the group was able to validate the effectiveness of GemX on E. coli, S. aureus, P. aeruginosa and L. Monocytogenes. Our work continues on the analysis of the effectiveness of certain micelles to counter the effect of Legionella pneumophila on water cooling towers. Results to date place GemX at a TRL 5. Our goal is to complete real-world validation with various trading partners.


  • Patent pending.


Research or marketing partners. Licenses available.

Project director: Laura Pronovost 

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