Ozone Effect on Pathogens
Ozone for Disinfection and inactivation of pathogens
As a biocide, ozone works similarly to chlorine (another oxidant) and is used in a similar manner. Ozone disinfects by directly oxidizing and destroying the microorganism’s cell wall, causing cellular components to leak outside the cell. This causes protoplasmic destruction of the cell, damaging constituents of the nucleic acids, and breaks the carbon–nitrogen bonds, which leads to depolymerization. During the process, ozone splits into oxygen and an ozone atom, which is lost during the reaction with the microorganism’s cell fluids, O3 -> O2 + (O).
This list is not meant to be a comprehensive list of every pathogen ozone can destroy, but a helpful guide to understand the power of ozone. Due to the nature of the direct oxidation power of ozone there is no mechanism for pathogens to create an immunity to ozone as with other chemical disinfectants and biocides.
Ozone destroys viruses by diffusing through the protein coat into the nucleic acid core, where it damages viral RNA. At higher concentrations, ozone destroys the virus’ exterior protein shell so that DNA or RNA structures are affected.
VIRUSES SUSCEPTIBLE TO OZONE
Ozone interferes with bacterial cell metabolism, probably by inhibiting the enzymatic control system. A sufficient amount of ozone breaks through the cell membrane, destroying the bacteria.
BACTERIA SUSCEPTIBLE TO OZONE
Fungus and Mold
It is believed that ozone destroys fungi and mold by diffusing through the fungalwall and into the cytoplasm, disrupting the organelles that direct cell function.
FUNGUS AND MOLD SPORES SUSCEPTIBLE TO OZONE
As described above, the mechanism by which ozone kills various fungi is through the destruction of organelles in the cell’s cytoplasm.
FUNGAL PATHOGENS SUSCEPTIBLE TO OZONE
The exact mechanism by which ozone kills protozoa has yet to be determined. The following table lists protozoan species susceptible to ozone.
PROTOZOA SUSCEPTIBLE TO OZONE
Parasitic cysts are of special concern in drinking water derived from surface water sources because they are unaffected by chlorine. Ozone at proper doses will destroy
cysts listed in the table below.
CYSTS SUSCEPTIBLE TO OZONE
Algae in drinking water supplies release organic chemicals during normal metabolic processes and after they die. These chemicals typically do not cause human illness, but do create problems of taste and odor and the potential for increased formation of trihalomethanes
ALGAE SUSCEPTIBLE TO OZONE
Similarly to related molds and fungi, various types of yeasts may be destroyed with ozone through the same mechanism.
YEASTS SUSCEPTIBLE TO OZONE