AB 4:147-154 (2008)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00105

Biotic and abiotic particles protect marine heterotrophic bacteria during UV and ozone disinfection

Ole-Kristian Hess-Erga1, Kari Johanne Kihle Attramadal2, Olav Vadstein1,*

1Department of Biotechnology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Sem Sælandsvei 6/8, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
2Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Sealab, Brattørkaia 17B, 7010 Trondheim, Norway
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Disinfection of water is required for a range of applications, including ballast water treatment and land-based fish farming. Bacteria attached to or embedded in particles can be protected from the disinfectant by various mechanisms. We investigated inactivation of marine heterotrophic bacteria in the presence of biotic and abiotic particles. In one set of experiments with the planktonic rotifer Brachionus ‘Nevada’, water was exposed to increasing UV and ozone dose, and we examined inactivation of free-living and particle-associated heterotrophic bacteria. An estimated 99.9% inactivation of free-living bacteria was obtained compared to only 91.4% inactivation (3 of 4 experiments) of particle-associated bacteria at the same ozone dose. For the UV experiments, a 6-fold increase in disinfection dose was required to obtain 99.9% inactivation of the particle-associated compared to the free-living bacteria. In a second set of experiments we investigated the protective effect of biotic (rotifers) and abiotic (ceramic clay) particles as a function of particle concentration. Increased particle concentration resulted in reduced disinfection efficiency of free-living bacteria with both UV and ozone. Rotifers protected slightly better against UV disinfection than ceramic clay particles, while such a relationship was not evident for the ozone disinfection. The results suggest a complex bacterial inactivation mechanism in the presence of particles, and will have implications for the treatment strategy used for ballast water and land-based fish farming.


KEY WORDS: Disinfection · Bacteria · Inactivation · Ozone · UV · Seawater · Biotic particles · Abiotic particles


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Cite this article as: Hess-Erga OK, Kihle Attramadal KJ, Vadstein O (2008) Biotic and abiotic particles protect marine heterotrophic bacteria during UV and ozone disinfection. Aquat Biol 4:147-154. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00105

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