Mechanisms of Inactivation of Microbes

The oxidizing mechanisms of ozone may involve direct reactions of molecular ozone and free radical-mediated destruction [12,52]. Inactivation of microorganisms by ozone may be due to the oxidation of a number of cellular components. The oxidation and disruption of cell membranes is considered to be one of the most important inactivation mechanisms. Ozone can oxidize polyunsaturated fatty acids, membrane-bound enzymes, glycoproteins, and glycolipids, and cause a decrease in cell permeability and disruption of normal cellular activity [52,71,72]. It has also been reported that bacterial inactivation may be due to inactivation of cellular enzymes, such as dehydrogenating enzymes in E. coli cells [73], p-galactosidase in the cytoplasm and alkaline phosphatases in the periplasm of E. coli [74], and destruction of genetic materials, such as DNA of E.coli [75,76], circular plasmid DNA [77], phage DNA and RNA [78,79], and viral DNA and RNA [52,80]. However, there is very limited information about microbial inactivation mechanisms by gaseous ozone, and the primary mechanism by both aqueous and gaseous ozone still needs to be clearly identified and investigated.

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