Tests on the vapour have shown it reduces bacteria on surfaces by 99.9% in 24 hours and by 99.9% on food in 45 seconds.
Northampton postdoctoral researcher Katie Fisher said: ‘The vapour is completely natural which means it is safe to use on food and crops. It is also a natural alternative to some of the toxic chemicals, such as hydrogen peroxide, which are used in hospitals.
‘It has applications in the clinical arena for the decontamination of surfaces and air, therefore reducing hospital-acquired infections (such as C diff),’ she said.
A patent has been filed on the vapour and the university is currently seeking funding to develop it further with the aim of marketing it.