Killing of enteric bacteria in drinking water by a copper device for use in the home: laboratory evidence

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2009 Aug;103(8):819-22. doi: 10.1016/j.trstmh.2009.01.019. Epub 2009 Feb 23.


Water inoculated with 500-1000 colony forming units/ml of Escherichia coli, Salmonella Typhi and Vibrio cholerae was stored overnight at room temperature in copper pots or in glass bottles containing a copper coil devised by us. The organisms were no longer recoverable when cultured on conventional media, by contrast with water stored in control glass bottles under similar conditions. The amount of copper leached into the water after overnight storage in a copper pot or a glass bottle with a copper device was less than 475 parts per billion, which is well within the safety limits prescribed by the WHO. The device is inexpensive, reusable, easy to maintain, durable, does not need energy to run and appears to be safe. It has the potential to be used as a household water purification method for removing enteric bacteria, especially in developing countries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cooking and Eating Utensils
  • Copper / pharmacology*
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • India
  • Intestinal Diseases / microbiology
  • Intestinal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Salmonella typhi / drug effects*
  • Salmonella typhi / isolation & purification
  • Time Factors
  • Vibrio cholerae / drug effects*
  • Vibrio cholerae / isolation & purification
  • Water Microbiology
  • Water Purification / instrumentation*
  • Water Purification / methods
  • Water Supply


  • Copper