Comparative effectiveness of solar disinfection using small-scale batch reactors with reflective, absorptive and transmissive rear surfaces

Water Res. 2006 Feb;40(4):721-7. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2005.11.039. Epub 2006 Jan 19.


This study investigated the enhancement of solar disinfection using custom-made batch reactors with reflective (foil-backed) or absorptive (black-backed) rear surfaces, under a range of weather conditions in India. Plate counts of Escherichia coli ATCC11775 were made under aerobic conditions and under conditions where reactive oxygen species (ROS) were neutralised, i.e. in growth medium supplemented with 0.05% w/v sodium pyruvate plus incubation under anaerobic conditions. While the addition of either an absorptive or a reflective backing enhanced reactor performance under strong sunlight, the reflective reactor was the only system to show consistent enhancement under low sunlight, where the process was slowest. Counts performed under ROS-neutralised conditions were slightly higher than those in air, indicating that a fraction of the cells become sub-lethally injured during exposure to sunlight to the extent that they were unable to grow aerobically. However, the influence of this phenomenon on the dynamics of inactivation was relatively small.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Disinfection / methods*
  • Escherichia coli*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Sunlight*
  • Water Purification / methods*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species