Potential application of high pressure carbon dioxide in treated wastewater and water disinfection: Recent overview and further trends

J Environ Sci (China). 2015 Oct 1;36:38-47. doi: 10.1016/j.jes.2015.04.006. Epub 2015 Jun 15.


Recently emerging disadvantages in conventional disinfection have heightened the need for finding a new solution. Developments in the use of high pressure carbon dioxide for food preservation and sterilization have led to a renewed interest in its applicability in wastewater treatment and water disinfection. Pressurized CO2 is one of the most investigated methods of antibacterial treatment and has been used extensively for decades to inhibit pathogens in dried food and liquid products. This study reviews the literature concerning the utility of CO2 as a disinfecting agent, and the pathogen inactivation mechanism of CO2 treatment is evaluated based on all available research. In this paper, it will be argued that the successful application and high effectiveness of CO2 treatment in liquid foods open a potential opportunity for its use in wastewater treatment and water disinfection. The findings from models with different operating conditions (pressure, temperature, microorganism, water content, media …) suggest that most microorganisms are successfully inhibited under CO2 treatment. It will also be shown that the bacterial deaths under CO2 treatment can be explained by many different mechanisms. Moreover, the findings in this study can help to address the recently emerging problems in water disinfection, such as disinfection by-products (resulting from chlorination or ozone treatment).

Keywords: High pressure CO(2); Inactivation effect; Inactivation mechanism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Dioxide / chemistry*
  • Disinfectants / chemistry*
  • Disinfection / trends*
  • Pressure
  • Wastewater / analysis*
  • Water Purification*


  • Disinfectants
  • Waste Water
  • Carbon Dioxide