Solar photo-oxidative disinfection of drinking water: preliminary field observations

Lett Appl Microbiol. 2000 Jun;30(6):432-6. doi: 10.1046/j.1472-765x.2000.00741.x.


The feasibility of using solar photo-oxidation to inactivate faecal bacterial contaminants in drinking water has been evaluated under field conditions in India and South Africa. Freshly drawn samples from all six test water sources were low in dissolved oxygen, at 13-40% of the air saturation value. However, vigorous mixing followed by exposure to full-strength sunlight in transparent plastic containers (1-25 l capacity) caused a rapid decrease in the counts of faecal indicator bacteria, giving complete inactivation within 3-6 h, with no evidence of reactivation. These results demonstrate that solar photo-oxidation may provide a practical, low-cost approach to the improvement of drinking water quality in developing countries with consistently sunny climates.

MeSH terms

  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Disinfection / methods*
  • Enterobacteriaceae / chemistry
  • Enterobacteriaceae / radiation effects
  • Fresh Water / chemistry
  • Fresh Water / microbiology
  • India
  • Oxygen / chemistry
  • South Africa
  • Sunlight*
  • Time Factors
  • Water Microbiology*
  • Water Purification / methods*


  • Oxygen