Comparative analysis of peracetic acid (PAA) and permaleic acid (PMA) in disinfection processes

Sci Total Environ. 2021 Jul 21;797:149206. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149206. Online ahead of print.


The growing demand to reduce chlorine usage and control disinfection byproducts increased the development of new strategies in wastewater treatments. Organic peracids are increasingly attracting interest in disinfection activities as a promising alternative to chlorine and chlorine-based agents. In this study, we assessed the antimicrobial properties against Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) of a new organic peracid, permaleic acid (PMA) compared with the reference peracetic acid (PAA). Disinfectant properties were evaluated by i) disk diffusion agar, ii) broth microdilution, iii) antibiofilm properties. PMA demonstrated a 10- and 5-fold decrease in the microbial inhibitory concentration (MIC) value against E. coli and S. aureus respectively, compared to PAA. Results showed greater efficacy of PMA regarding wastewater (WW) and treated wastewater (TWW) disinfection at low concentrations. Furthermore, the biofilm degradation ability was only observed following PMA treatment, for both strains. Bacterial regrowth from biofilm matrix after PAA and PMA disinfection, in the absence and presence of organic matter, was evaluated. PMA was more efficient than PAA to prevent the regrowth of planktonic cells of S. aureus and E. coli. After PAA and PMA treatment, in the presence of organic matter, the bacterial regrowth inhibition was maintained up to 10 and 5 g/L, respectively. Based on these results, PMA could be used as a valid alternative to the currently used disinfection methods.

Keywords: Antimicrobial activity, biofilm degradation; Peracetic acid; Permaleic acid; Wastewater treatment.