Efficacy of solar disinfection of Escherichia coli, Shigella flexneri, Salmonella Typhimurium and Vibrio cholerae

M. Berney, H. U. Weilenmann, A. Simonetti, T. Egli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


Aims: To determine the efficacy of solar disinfection (SODIS) for enteric pathogens and to test applicability of the reciprocity law. Methods and Results: Resistance to sunlight at 37°C based on F99 values was in the following order: Salmonella Typhimurium > Escherichia coli > Shigella flexneri > Vibrio cholerae. While F90 values of Salm. Typhimurium and E. coli were similar, F99 values differed by 60% due to different inactivation curve shapes. Efficacy seemed not to be dependent on fluence rate for E. coli stationary cells. Sensitivity to mild heat was observed above a temperature of 45°C for E. coli, Salm. Typhimurium and Sh. flexneri, while V. cholerae was already susceptible above 40°C. Conclusions: Salmonella Typhimurium was the most resistant and V. cholerae the least resistant enteric strain. The reciprocity law is applicable for stationary E. coli cells irradiated with sunlight or artificial sunlight. Significance and Impact of the Study: Escherichia coli might not be the appropriate indicator bacterium to test the efficacy of SODIS on enteric bacteria and the physiological response to SODIS might be different among enteric bacteria. The applicability of the reciprocity law indicates that fluence rate plays a secondary role in SODIS efficacy. Stating inactivation efficacy with T90 or F90 values without showing original data is inadequate for SODIS studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)828-836
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Escherichia coli
  • Mild heat
  • Reciprocity
  • Resistance
  • Salmonella Typhimurium
  • Shigella flexneri
  • Solar disinfection (SODIS)
  • Vibrio cholerae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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