Photoreactivation in airborne Mycobacterium parafortuitum

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2001 Sep;67(9):4225-32. doi: 10.1128/AEM.67.9.4225-4232.2001.


Photoreactivation was observed in airborne Mycobacterium parafortuitum exposed concurrently to UV radiation (254 nm) and visible light. Photoreactivation rates of airborne cells increased with increasing relative humidity (RH) and decreased with increasing UV dose. Under a constant UV dose with visible light absent, the UV inactivation rate of airborne M. parafortuitum cells decreased by a factor of 4 as RH increased from 40 to 95%; however, under identical conditions with visible light present, the UV inactivation rate of airborne cells decreased only by a factor of 2. When irradiated in the absence of visible light, cellular cyclobutane thymine dimer content of UV-irradiated airborne M. parafortuitum and Serratia marcescens increased in response to RH increases. Results suggest that, unlike in waterborne bacteria, cyclobutane thymine dimers are not the most significant form of UV-induced DNA damage incurred by airborne bacteria and that the distribution of DNA photoproducts incorporated into UV-irradiated airborne cells is a function of RH.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Microbiology*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Culture Media
  • DNA Repair*
  • Humidity
  • Light*
  • Mycobacterium / growth & development
  • Mycobacterium / radiation effects*
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • Culture Media