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Sunlight Inactivation Rates of Wild-type, Mutant, and Wastewater-derived E. coli in the Presence and Absence of Iron Chelators and ROS Scavengers: Applied and Mechanistic Implications for SODIS

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Wastewater-derived E. coli were inactivated by sunlight in PET bottles more slowly than laboratory strains for unknown reasons. By contrast, alternative bottle materials and low-cost additives were found to accelerate the inactivation of laboratory-cultured cells. Evidence from chelator and mutant experiments supported a strong role of intracellular iron and reactive oxygen species in the inactivation of laboratory-cultured E. coli. It was also observed that laboratory strains cultured under iron-limiting conditions were inactivated more slowly than cells grown on iron-supplemented media. The implications of these findings for the fate of pathogens and indicator bacteria in engineered and environmental systems are discussed, and further work is proposed.
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Keywords: E. coli; SODIS; iron; reactive oxygen; solar disinfection

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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