UVA and UVB can be applied to solar disinfection of water. In this study, the inactivation and photoreactivation of viruses and bacteria in the UVA-B range were analyzed. MS2 and T4 bacteriophages, and Escherichia coli were used as surrogates to quantify dose-response behaviors. Inactivation in UVC was used to validate the methodology and to expand the inactivation action spectra. The results showed log-linear inactivation for MS2 and T4 in the 254–320 nm wavelength range. T4 inactivation was consistently faster than MS2 (except at 320 nm), and for both phages, inactivation decreased with increasing wavelength. The dose-response of bacteria exhibited a lag at low doses, possibly because the photons must strike a discrete number of critical targets before growth stops. A tail was present at high doses for some wavelengths, perhaps due to clumping or the presence of subgroups with higher resistance. The inactivation action spectra for bacteria exhibited a reduction in inactivation as wavelength increased. No bacterial inactivation was observed beyond 320 nm at doses applied. After inactivation at 297 nm (UVA), bacteria regained viability through photoreactivation, and repair increased with increase in photoreactivating light exposure time. This implies additional doses above inactivation thresholds are required to cause irreversible damage. These results are useful for designing solar disinfection systems.

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