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The efficacy of chlorine-based disinfectants against planktonic and biofilm bacteria for decentralised point-of-use drinking water
npj Clean Water  (IF9.378),  Pub Date : 2021-11-04, DOI: 10.1038/s41545-021-00139-w
Gillian E. Clayton, Robin M. S. Thorn, Darren M. Reynolds

Chlorine solutions are used extensively for the production of biologically safe drinking water. The capability of point-of-use [POU] drinking water treatment systems has gained interest in locations where centralised treatment systems and distribution networks are not practical. This study investigated the antimicrobial and anti-biofilm activity of three chlorine-based disinfectants (hypochlorite ions [OCl-], hypochlorous acid [HOCl] and electrochemically activated solutions [ECAS]) for use in POU drinking water applications. The relative antimicrobial activity was compared within bactericidal suspension assays (BS EN 1040 and BS EN 1276) using Escherichia coli. The anti-biofilm activity was compared utilising established sessile Pseudomonas aeruginosa within a Centre for Disease Control [CDC] biofilm reactor. HOCl exhibited the greatest antimicrobial activity against planktonic E. coli at >50 mg L−1 free chlorine, in the presence of organic loading (bovine serum albumen). However, ECAS exhibited significantly greater anti-biofilm activity compared to OCl- and HOCl against P. aeruginosa biofilms at ≥50 mg L−1 free chlorine. Based on this evidence disinfectants where HOCl is the dominant chlorine species (HOCl and ECAS) would be appropriate alternative chlorine-based disinfectants for POU drinking water applications.