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The phenothiazinium dye methylene blue is among the oldest examples of biological stains. It is also the principle lead compound for cationic photoantimicrobial drug discovery, exhibiting a broad spectrum of activity against bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa, regardless of conventional drug resistance status.

Improvements on methylene blue have been demonstrated by a range of both auxochromic and chromophoric derivatives, including tetra- and pentacyclic derivatives, many of which exhibit absorption wavelengths approaching 700 nm. Potential uses for the derivatives include local and topical antimicrobial therapy, blood product and environmental disinfection.

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