Author(s): Chuaybamroong P, Chotigawin R, Supothina S, Sribenjalux P, Larpkiattaworn S,
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Abstract This study assessed the application of photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) to the high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter for disinfection of airborne microorganisms. Experiments were conducted at two TiO2 loadings (1870 +/- 169 and 3140 +/- 67 mg/m(2)) on the HEPA filter irradiated with UV-A at the intensity of 0.85 +/- 0.18 or 4.85 +/- 0.09 mW/cm(2) under two relative humidity conditions (45 +/- 5\% and 75 +/- 5\%). Inactivation and penetration of four microorganisms were tested, including Aspergillus niger, Penicillium citrinum, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Bacillus subtilis. It was found that microorganisms retained on a photocatalytic filter were inactivated around 60-80\% and even 100\% for S. epidermidis when the PCO reactions occurred. Lower penetration was also found from the photocatalytic filter for all airborne microorganisms. High humidity decreased photocatalysis efficacy. Increasing TiO2 loading or irradiance intensity did not substantially affect its disinfection capability. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: The high efficiency particulate air filter is used widely to remove particulates and microorganisms from the air stream. However, the filter may become a source of microbes if those retained microorganisms proliferate and re-entrain back into the filtered air. This study demonstrates that such a problem can be handled effectively by using photocatalytic reactions to inactivate those confined microorganisms. A 60-100\% microbe reduction can be achieved for a wide variety of microorganisms to provide better indoor air quality for hospitals, offices, and domestic applications.
This article was published in Indoor Air
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense