Disinfection of E. coli contaminated water using tungsten trioxide-based photoelectrocatalysis

Efetobor Scott-Emuakpor, Graeme I. Paton, Malcolm J. Todd, Donald E. Macphee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Semi-conductor oxide enhanced photocatalysis is a sustainable technology suitable for disinfection of water contaminated with pathogens. Disinfection of Escherichia coli was investigated using an immobilized thin film tungsten trioxide (WO3) photocatalyst in a visible light-driven photoelectrocatalytic batch cell (PECB). Disinfection efficiency was monitored under dark electrocatalytic, photolytic and photoelectrocatalytic conditions and assessed using a culture-based approach. Optimal disinfection efficiency (>99 % within 15 minutes) occurred when the WO3 catalyst was illuminated under closed circuit conditions. Non-detection of colony forming units showed no re-growth of the pathogen during post-irradiation studies, indicating cell death. The WO3 photocatalyst is a potentially useful disinfection technology as its utilization of visible parts of the solar spectrum optimizes solar energy for treatment of contaminated waters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-903
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental engineering and management journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2016


  • disinfection
  • E. coli
  • photoelectrocatalysis
  • tungsten trioxide
  • wastewater
  • visible-light
  • photocatalytic disinfection
  • Escherichia-coli
  • bactericidal activity
  • titanium-dioxide
  • pathogenic microorganisms
  • postirradiation events
  • TiO2 photocatalysis
  • film elctrodes
  • drinking-water


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