Antimicrobial photodynamic inactivation is becoming a promising alternative to control microbial pathogens. The combination of positively charged groups and carbohydrate moieties with porphyrin derivatives results in increased cell recognition and water solubility, which improves cell membrane penetration. However, the nature of the oxidative damage and the cellular targets of photodamage are still not clearly identified. This work reports the use of four cationic galactoporphyrins as PSs against two environmental bacteria, Micrococcus sp. and Pseudomonas sp., resistant to oxidative stress induced by UV-B exposure. The effect of 1O2 generated during the PDI assays on oxidation of cellular lipids and proteins was also assessed. PDI experiments with Micrococcus sp. and Pseudomonas sp. were conducted with 0.5 and 5.0 μmol L−1 of photosensitiser, respectively, under white light at a fluence rate of 150 mW cm−2 during 15 min. The most effective compounds against Gram (+) bacteria were PSs 3a, 5a and 6a leading to ≈8.0 log of photoinactivation while PSs 3a and 6a caused the highest inactivation (≈6.0 log and 5.3 log) of the Gram (−) strain. The adsorption to cellular material and 1O2 generation capacity of the PS molecule were determinant factors for these inactivation profiles. The occurrence of protein carbonylation and lipid peroxidation supports the hypothesis that antibacterial PDI is triggered by damage of external cell structures such as the cell wall and membrane.
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