Modeling the Endogenous Sunlight Inactivation Rates of Laboratory Strain and Wastewater E. coli and Enterococci Using Biological Weighting Functions

Andrea I. Silverman, Kara L. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Models that predict sunlight inactivation rates of bacteria are valuable tools for predicting the fate of pathogens in recreational waters and designing natural wastewater treatment systems to meet disinfection goals. We developed biological weighting function (BWF)-based numerical models to estimate the endogenous sunlight inactivation rates of E. coli and enterococci. BWF-based models allow the prediction of inactivation rates under a range of environmental conditions that shift the magnitude or spectral distribution of sunlight irradiance (e.g., different times, latitudes, water absorbances, depth). Separate models were developed for laboratory strain bacteria cultured in the laboratory and indigenous organisms concentrated directly from wastewater. Wastewater bacteria were found to be 5-7 times less susceptible to full-spectrum simulated sunlight than the laboratory bacteria, highlighting the importance of conducting experiments with bacteria sourced directly from wastewater. The inactivation rate models fit experimental data well and were successful in predicting the inactivation rates of wastewater E. coli and enterococci measured in clear marine water by researchers from a different laboratory. Additional research is recommended to develop strategies to account for the effects of elevated water pH on predicted inactivation rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12292-12301
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Volume50
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2016

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Escherichia coli
Bacteria
Wastewater
wastewater
bacterium
Water
modeling
Disinfection
Pathogens
water
Wastewater treatment
Numerical models
absorbance
disinfection
irradiance
rate
laboratory
pathogen
environmental conditions
prediction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

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abstract = "Models that predict sunlight inactivation rates of bacteria are valuable tools for predicting the fate of pathogens in recreational waters and designing natural wastewater treatment systems to meet disinfection goals. We developed biological weighting function (BWF)-based numerical models to estimate the endogenous sunlight inactivation rates of E. coli and enterococci. BWF-based models allow the prediction of inactivation rates under a range of environmental conditions that shift the magnitude or spectral distribution of sunlight irradiance (e.g., different times, latitudes, water absorbances, depth). Separate models were developed for laboratory strain bacteria cultured in the laboratory and indigenous organisms concentrated directly from wastewater. Wastewater bacteria were found to be 5-7 times less susceptible to full-spectrum simulated sunlight than the laboratory bacteria, highlighting the importance of conducting experiments with bacteria sourced directly from wastewater. The inactivation rate models fit experimental data well and were successful in predicting the inactivation rates of wastewater E. coli and enterococci measured in clear marine water by researchers from a different laboratory. Additional research is recommended to develop strategies to account for the effects of elevated water pH on predicted inactivation rates.",
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