Modern Concept of Disinfection

by Shih L. Chang, Chf. of Etiology; Bureau of Water Hygiene, ECA, PHS, HEW, Cincinnati, OH,

Serial Information: Journal of the Sanitary Engineering Division, 1971, Vol. 97, Issue 5, Pg. 689-707

Document Type: Journal Paper


The literature on disinfection has been critically reviewed and the quantitative data analyzed in an effort to construct a modern concept of disinfection, the chemistry of disinfectants, the cyto-structure and physical state of microorganisms, their reaction as a rate process, and the interference of chemical and physical factors in the reaction medium. Disinfectants are grouped in six categories, namely: oxidizing agents, cations of heavy metals, quaternary ammonium and pyridinum compounds, gaseous agents, and physical agents. Microorganisms are grouped into amoebic cysts, bacteria, and viruses, with the spores omitted. From the analysis of existing data, various constants and other quantitative parameters are obtained for a limited number of disinfectants, and the needed information on many disinfectants is pointed out. The direction for future research is indicated.

Subject Headings: Aging (material) | Disinfection | Microbes | Chemical processes | Heavy metals | Ammonia | Bacteria | Viruses

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