Killing bacteria present on surfaces in films or in droplets using microwave UV lamps

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The killing of bacteria on surfaces by two types of UV sources generated by microwave radiation is described. In both cases, UV radiation is produced by gas-discharge electrodeless lamps (Ar/Hg) excited by microwaves generated by a power supply from a standard domestic microwave oven. For UV lamp excitation, one of these sources makes use of a coaxial line with a truncated outer electrode that allows the excitation of gases and gaseous mixtures over a wide range of pressures at a comparatively low microwave power. In the second source, UV lamps are placed inside a microwave oven. Ultraviolet generated by the two sources was used to destroy vegetative Escherichia coli bacteria dispersed in thin films and in droplets on surfaces. Two types of UV lamps were used in the study. The first was constructed of quartz that filtered UV below 200 nm preventing the dissociation of oxygen in air and, hence, ozone production. The second type of tube was transparent to UV below 200 nm facilitating ozone production in air surrounding it. It was shown that bacterial cells dispersed in films on surfaces are killed more rapidly than cells present in droplets when using the lamps producing ozone and UV radiation. The UV sources described can effect rapid killing and constitute a cost-effective treatment of food and other surfaces, and, the destruction of airborne viruses and bacteria. The lamps can also be utilised for the rapid eradication of microorganisms in liquids.

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