Inactivation of Bacteria by Peracetic Acid Combined with Ultraviolet Irradiation: Mechanism and Optimization
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Peracetic acid (PAA) is an emerging disinfectant for municipal wastewater treatment owing to good biocidal effects and limited harmful by-product formation.

This study investigated the inactivation of Gram-negative Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Gram-positive Enterococcus durans (E. durans) and Staphylococcus epidermidis (S. epidermidis) by PAA combined with UV concurrently (UV/PAA) or sequentially (PAA-UV/PAA) for enhanced disinfection. Under UV/PAA, the contributions of different mechanisms (UV, PAA, reactive radicals (mainly •OH and CH3C(O)OO•), and the synergistic effect of all mechanisms involved) to the overall inactivation were quantitatively assessed. Results revealed that radicals played a moderate role in the enhanced disinfection, while the synergistic effect presented a greater contribution, which could be partially linked to the diffusion of PAA into the cells as evidenced for the first time by a fluorescence microscopic method. Taking advantage of PAA diffusion into bacteria, pre-exposure of PAA followed by UV/PAA was demonstrated to yield the highest disinfection efficiency. Indeed, compared to UV/PAA, PAA-UV/PAA could achieve additional 4.7–5.4, 4.1–5.3, and 2.9–3.4 log inactivation of E. coli, E. durans, and S. epidermidis, respectively, in clean water and secondary/tertiary wastewater effluents when the same amounts of PAA and UV doses were applied in both approaches. Bacterial regrowth tests confirmed minimal regrowth potential after the disinfection.

Publication Summary

  • Geosyntec Authors: Benjamin Mejia-Tickner
  • All Authors: Benjamin Mejia-Tickner, Geosyntec Consultants; Tianqi Zhang, Ting Wang, Jessica Kissel, Xing Xie,Ching-Hua Huang
  • Title: Environmental Science & Technology
  • Event or Publication: Publication
  • Practice Areas: Industrial Wastewater Treatment Systems
  • Citation: Benjamin Mejia-Tickner (Georgia) coauthored an article entitled "Inactivation of Bacteria by Peracetic Acid Combined with Ultraviolet Irradiation: Mechanism and Optimization" for publication in Environmental Science & Technology on July 9, 2020.
  • Date: July 9, 2020
  • Publication Type: Journal Article