Three types of nanosilver materials, which were commercial, chemically-synthesized and biologically-synthesized, respectively, were compared in terms of the disinfection efficiencies against Escherichia coli and MS2 coliphage in order to pinpoint promising material with the best performance. Disinfection results showed biologically-synthesized silver nanoparticles (referred to hereafter as ‘bio-AgNPs’) had the best disinfection performance, 10 mg/L of which was able to inactivate all the E. coli in 1 min (>6 log removals) and achieved 4 log removals of MS2 coliphage. Bio-AgNPs were therefore selected for further study in terms of effects of the concentration and contact time as well as the impacts of environmental conditions on the viral inactivation. Given the viral inactivation profile of bio-AgNPs shown in this study, it could be concluded that viral inactivation by bio-AgNPs could be inhibited by total organic carbon (TOC) (10 mg/L as humic acid) and chloride ion (5 mg/L) to a large extent while Ca2+/Mg2+/ionic strength only had minor effects on the viral inactivation at high concentrations (188 mg/L as CaCO3 of hardness or 5.6 mM of ionic strength, respectively). This part of the study may help enlighten further mechanism studies on viral inactivation by nanosilver.

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