Solar Disinfection of Viruses in Polyethylene Terephthalate Bottles

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2015 Oct 23;82(1):279-88. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02897-15. Print 2016 Jan 1.


Solar disinfection (SODIS) of drinking water in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles is a simple, efficient point-of-use technique for the inactivation of many bacterial pathogens. In contrast, the efficiency of SODIS against viruses is not well known. In this work, we studied the inactivation of bacteriophages (MS2 and ϕX174) and human viruses (echovirus 11 and adenovirus type 2) by SODIS. We conducted experiments in PET bottles exposed to (simulated) sunlight at different temperatures (15, 22, 26, and 40°C) and in water sources of diverse compositions and origins (India and Switzerland). Good inactivation of MS2 (>6-log inactivation after exposure to a total fluence of 1.34 kJ/cm(2)) was achieved in Swiss tap water at 22°C, while less-efficient inactivation was observed in Indian waters and for echovirus (1.5-log inactivation at the same fluence). The DNA viruses studied, ϕX174 and adenovirus, were resistant to SODIS, and the inactivation observed was equivalent to that occurring in the dark. High temperatures enhanced MS2 inactivation substantially; at 40°C, 3-log inactivation was achieved in Swiss tap water after exposure to a fluence of only 0.18 kJ/cm(2). Overall, our findings demonstrate that SODIS may reduce the load of single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) viruses, such as echoviruses, particularly at high temperatures and in photoreactive matrices. In contrast, complementary measures may be needed to ensure efficient inactivation during SODIS of DNA viruses resistant to oxidation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / physiology
  • Adenoviridae / radiation effects
  • Coliphages / physiology
  • Coliphages / radiation effects
  • DNA Viruses / radiation effects
  • Disinfection / methods*
  • Disinfection / statistics & numerical data
  • Drinking Water / virology*
  • Enterovirus B, Human / physiology
  • Enterovirus B, Human / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • India
  • Polyethylene Terephthalates*
  • Sunlight*
  • Switzerland
  • Temperature
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Viral Load / radiation effects
  • Virus Inactivation*
  • Water Purification / methods


  • Drinking Water
  • Polyethylene Terephthalates

Grant support

This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sector.