Copper and Zinc Salts as Escherichia coli Antagonists in Water Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • February 28, 2019
  • Komandur, Abhinav
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering
  • Waterborne illness is one of the world's most pervasive causes of morbidity and mortality, with severe health, social, environmental and economic impact. Human faeces are often excreted in such a fashion as to contaminate community water supplies. Frequently, diarrhoeal illnesses also induce dehydration, resulting in increased consumption of water and a resultant decrease in access to an already-scarce resource. Sustainable community water access, especially in contexts where water is scarce, can therefore often not be achieved, and adverse environmental impacts stemming from faecal contamination of water caused by improper waste disposal can often not be adequately mitigated. Metals, particularly copper and zinc, have been proposed as effective anti-microbial agents in aqueous solutions. Were this to be the case, many of the resultant adverse outcomes induced by high prevalence of waterborne diarrhoeal illness could be mitigated or entirely prevented. This research aimed to quantify the overall disinfecting effects of copper and zinc, in the ionic form, as well as the kinetics of such disinfection on Escherichia coli. Experiments were conducted in room-temperature water (varying between 18 and 23 degrees Centigrade) buffered to a pH of 7.2. It was found that copper and zinc salts in a consumable dosage result in a reduction in cultivable E.coli on the order of approximately 10^3 after a period of approximately 6 hours, with significant disinfection being observed after as little time as 20 minutes.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Sobsey, Mark
  • Stewart, Jill
  • Ball, Louise
  • Bachelor of Science in Public Health
Academic concentration
  • Environmental Health Sciences
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2011
Deposit record
  • e00f1df6-6c31-41ba-867b-150d86a8c8cb

This work has no parents.