Mineralization of Bacterial Cell Mass on a Photocatalytic Surface in Air

William A. Jacoby, Pin Ching Maness, Edward J. Wolfrum, Daniel M. Blake, John A. Fennell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

211 Scopus Citations


Whole cells deposited on a titanium dioxide-coated surface have been oxidized in air to carbon dioxide via photocatalysis. This paper provides the first evidence that the organic matter in whole cells can be completely oxidized. Three experimental techniques were employed to monitor this reaction: scanning electron microscopy, 14C radioisotope labeling, and batch reactor measurements. The scanning electron microscopy experiments illustrate the disappearance of Escherichia coli cell mass. The 14C radioisotope labeling experiments establish that the carbon content of E. coli is oxidized to form carbon dioxide with substantial closure of the mass balance. The batch reactor experiments corroborate the mass balance and provide a preliminary indication of the rate of the oxidation reaction. These results provide evidence that a photocatalytic surface used for disinfection can also be self-cleaning in an air-solid system.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2650-2653
Number of pages4
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number17
StatePublished - 1998

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-570-26212


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