Inactivation of pathogenic microorganisms by sulfate radical: Present and future

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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


In recent years, inactivation of pathogenic microorganisms by sulfate radical anion (−SO4·) has attracted in-creasing attention due to growing demands to control harmful disinfection byproducts and update watertreatment systems for efficient microbial control. This critical review focuses on the basic principles and currentresearch status of−SO4·-based inactivation technology, and for comparison includes%OH-based inactivation ofmicroorganisms. After a brief review of basic mechanisms of radical reactions with biomolecules, the in-activation kinetics and mechanisms by−SO4·in various activation systems are summarized and discussed. Wedemonstrated that−SO4·oxidatively damages the cell membrane/wall, proteins, and genetic materials (i.e., DNAand RNA), resulting in the inactivation of the microorganisms. Finally, existing problems, challenges, andpossible solutions in engineering applications, and future research directions are discussed.

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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cej.2019.03.296

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Chemical Engineering Journal