IWA Publishing

Effects of salinity on photoreactivation of Escherichia coli after UV disinfection

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The effects of sodium chloride on photoreactivation of Escherichia coli were examined, assuming the discharge of ultraviolet (UV)-treated wastewater to water environment at different salinities. Suspensions of E. coli were first exposed to a low-pressure UV lamp in phosphate buffer to achieve 3 log inactivation, followed by an exposure to fluorescent light in NaCl solutions at the concentration of 1.0, 1.4, 1.9, 2.4 and 2.9 weight/volume %. When photoreactivation was completed in 3 h, survival ratio was recovered about 2 log in 1.0, 1.4, and 1.9% NaCl solutions, which was equivalent to the recovery observed in phosphate-buffered solution. Meanwhile, the recovery was suppressed to 0.8 log and −0.2 log in 2.4 and 2.9% NaCl solutions, respectively, which was significantly less than the recovery in phosphate buffer according to the t-test (p < 0.05). An endonuclease sensitive site assay demonstrated that the suppressed photoreactivation in 2.9% NaCl solution was due to the failure at repairing UV-induced pyrimidine dimers in the genome. In conclusion, photoreactivation of E. coli was significantly suppressed in NaCl solution at 2.4% or higher but not affected in NaCl solution at 1.9% or lower. This implies that photoreactivation of E. coli may potentially occur in brackish and coastal areas where salinity is rather low.

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