Mechanism and efficacy of virus inactivation by a microplasma UV lamp generating monochromatic UV irradiation at 222 nm

Chamteut Oh, Peter P. Sun, Elbashir Araud, Thanh H. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study evaluated the potential of a microplasma UV lamp as an alternative UV source to the current mercury-based (Hg-based) UV lamp for water disinfection. We developed a set of PCR-based molecular assays (long-range qPCR, DNase, and binding assay) to quantify the adenovirus genome, capsid, and fiber damage with a wide detection range (100.5-106.5 PFU/mL). We used these molecular assays to characterize adenovirus (AdV) inactivation kinetics by microplasma UV that produced monochromatic UV at 222 nm. We found that the inactivation rate constant (0.142 cm2/mJ) due to microplasma UV was 4.4 times higher than that of low-pressure Hg UV (0.032 cm2/mJ). This high efficacy was attributed to monochromatic UV wavelength at 222 nm damaging the AdV capsid protein. The results of these molecular assays also proved that microplasma UV and medium-pressure Hg UV with a bandpass filter at 223 nm (MPUV223nm) have a similar influence on AdV (p>0.05). We then estimated the relative energy efficiency of MPUV and microplasma UV to LPUV for 4 log reduction of the viruses. We found that the microplasma UV resulted in higher inactivation rate constants for viruses than the current Hg-based UV. Consequently, microplasma UV could be more energy efficient than low-pressure Hg UV for water disinfection if the wall-plug efficiency of the microplasma UV lamp improved to 8.4% (currently 1.5%). Therefore, the microplasma UV lamp is a promising option for water disinfection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116386
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Adenovirus
  • Microplasma UV lamp
  • Molecular mechanisms
  • Monochromatic UV irradiation at 222 nm
  • Water disinfection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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