Wavelength dependence of biological damage induced by UV radiation on bacteria

Arch Microbiol. 2013 Jan;195(1):63-74. doi: 10.1007/s00203-012-0847-5. Epub 2012 Oct 23.


The biological effects of UV radiation of different wavelengths (UVA, UVB and UVC) were assessed in nine bacterial isolates displaying different UV sensitivities. Biological effects (survival and activity) and molecular markers of oxidative stress [DNA strand breakage (DSB), generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), oxidative damage to proteins and lipids, and the activity of antioxidant enzymes catalase and superoxide dismutase] were quantified and statistically analyzed in order to identify the major determinants of cell inactivation under the different spectral regions. Survival and activity followed a clear wavelength dependence, being highest under UVA and lowest under UVC. The generation of ROS, as well as protein and lipid oxidation, followed the same pattern. DNA damage (DSB) showed the inverse trend. Multiple stepwise regression analysis revealed that survival under UVA, UVB and UVC wavelengths was best explained by DSB, oxidative damage to lipids, and intracellular ROS levels, respectively.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / enzymology
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / radiation effects*
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • DNA Damage / radiation effects*
  • Lipids / radiation effects
  • Microbial Viability / radiation effects
  • Oxidative Stress / radiation effects
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • Lipids
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase