A novel electrochemical reactor employing carbon-cloth electrodes was constructed for disinfection of drinking water. Escherichia coli K-12 (10(2) cells per cm3) was sterilized when a cell suspension was passed through the reactor at a dilution rate of 6.0 h-1, and a potential of 0.7 V versus a saturated calomel electrode was applied to an electrode. The survival ratio increased with increasing dilution rate but was less than 0.1% at dilution rates of less than 6.0 h-1. Although the survival ratio increased with increasing cell concentration above 10(3) cells per cm3, the disinfection rate also increased. The disinfection rate was 6.0 x 10(2) cells per cm3 per h at a cell concentration of 10(2) cells per cm3. Continuous sterilization of E. coli cells was carried out for 24 h. Sterilization is based on an electrochemical reaction between the electrode and the cell which is mediated by intracellular coenzyme A. Sterilization of drinking water by using this reactor was successfully performed, demonstrating the potential of such a reactor for clean and efficient water purification
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