Ozone Effect on Pathogens

Ozone Germ Cell

Ozone Effect on Pathogens

Ozone for Pathogen Disinfection and Inactivation

As a biocide, ozone functions similarly to chlorine (another oxidant) and is used in the same way. Ozone disinfects by directly oxidising and destroying the cell wall of the microorganism, allowing cellular components to leak outside the cell. This causes protoplasmic destruction of the cell, causing nucleic acid constituents to be damaged and breaking carbon-nitrogen bonds, resulting in depolymerization. Ozone splits into oxygen and an ozone atom during the process, which is lost during the reaction with the microorganism’s cell fluids, O3 -> O2 + (O).

This is not a comprehensive list of every pathogen that ozone can destroy, but rather a guide to understanding the power of ozone. Because of the nature of ozone’s direct oxidation power, pathogens cannot develop immunity to it as they can to other chemical disinfectants and biocides.

Ozone Effect on Viruses

Ozone destroys viruses by diffusing through the protein coat into the nucleic acid core, where it damages viral RNA. At higher concentrations, ozone destroys the virus’ exterior protein shell so that DNA or RNA structures are affected.

  • Adenovirus (type 7a)
  • Coxsackie’s viruses A9, B3 & B5
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Echovirus 1, 5, 12 & 29
  • Encephalomyocarditis
  • Hepatitis A
  • GD V11 Virus
  • Infectious hepatitis
  • Influenza
  • Coronavirus
  • Norovirus
  • Rotavirus
  • Tobacco mosaic
  • Vesicular Stomatitis
  • Legionella pneumophila
  • Poliomyelitis virus 1, 2 & 3

Ozone Effect on Bacteria

Ozone interferes with bacterial cell metabolism, probably by inhibiting the enzymatic control system. A  sufficient amount of ozone breaks through the cell membrane, destroying the bacteria.

  • Aeromonas harveyi NC-2,
  • Aeromonas salmonicida NC-1102
  • Bacillus anthracis,
  • Bacillus cereus,
  • Bacillus coagulans,
  • Bacillus globigii,
  • Bacillus licheniformis,
  • Bacillus megatherium sp.,
  • Bacillus paratyphosus,
  • Bacillus prodigiosus,
  • Bacillus subtilis,
  • Bacillus
  • Stearothermophilus
  • Clostridium botulinum,
  • Clostridium sporogenes,
  • Clostridium tetoni
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Coliphage
  • Diphthriae
  • Eberthella typhosa
  • Endamoeba histolica
  • Escherichia coli
  • Flavorbacterium SP A-3
  • Leptospira canicola
  • Listeria
  • Micrococcus candidus,
  • Micrococcus caseolyticus KM-15,
  • Micrococcus spharaeroides
  • Mycobacterium leprae,
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Neisseria catarrhalis
  • Proteus vulgaris
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa,
  • Pseudomonas fluorscens,
  • Pseudomonas putida
  • Salmonella choleraesuis
  • Salmonella enteritidis,
  • Salmonella typhimurium,
  • Salmonella typhosa,
  • Salmonella paratyphi
  • Sarcina lutea
  • Seratia marcescens
  • Shigella dysenteriae,
  • Shigella flexnaria,
  • Shigella paradysenteriae
  • Spirllum rubrum
  • Staphylococcus albus,
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Streptococcus C,
  • Streptococcus faecalis,
  • Streptococcus hemolyticus,
  • Streptococcus lactis,
  • Streptococcus salivarius,
  • Streptococcus viridans
  • Torula rubra
  • Vibrio alginolyticus & angwillarum,
  • Vibrio clolarae,
  • Vibrio comma
  • Virrio ichthyodermis NC-407,
  • Virrio parahaemolyticus

Fungus and Mould

  • Aspergillus candidus,
  • Aspergillus flavus,
  • Aspergillus glaucus,
  • Aspergillus niger,
  • Aspergillusterreus,
  • Saitoi and oryzac
  • Botrytis allii
  • Colletotrichum lagenariu
  • Fusarium oxysporum
  • Grotrichum
  • Mucor recomosus A & B, Mucor piriformis
  • Oospora lactis
  • Penicillium cyclopium, P. chrysogenum and citrinum,
  • Penicillium digitatum,
  • Penicilliumglaucum,
  • Penicillium expansum,
  • Penicillium egyptiacum,
  • Penicillium roqueforti
  • Rhizopus nigricans,
  • Rhizopus stolonifer

Fungal Pathogens

  • Alternaria solani
  • Botrytis cinerea
  • Fusarium oxysporum
  • Monilinia fruiticola,
  • Monilinia laxa
  • Pythium ultimum
  • Phytophthora erythroseptica,
  • Phytophthora
  • parasitica
  • Rhizoctonia
  • Solani
  • Rhizopus
  • stolonifera
  • Sclerotium rolfsii
  • Sclerotinia
  • Sclerotiorum


The exact mechanism by which ozone kills protozoa has yet to be determined. The following table lists protozoan species susceptible to ozone.

  • Paramecium
  • Nematode eggs
  • All pathogenic and nonpathogenic forms of Protozoa
  • Chlorella vulgaris (algae)


Parasitic cysts are of special concern in drinking water derived from surface water sources because they are unaffected by chlorine. Ozone at proper doses will destroy cysts listed in the table below.

  • Cryptosporidium parvum
  • Giardia lamblia, Giardia muris



Algae in drinking water supplies release organic chemicals during normal metabolic processes and after they die. These chemicals typically do not cause human illness but do create problems of taste and odour and the potential for increased formation of trihalomethanes.

  • Chlorella vulgaris
  • Thamnidium
  • Trichoderma viride
  • Verticillium albo-atrum,
  • Verticillium dahlia



Similarly to related moulds and fungi, various types of yeasts may be destroyed with ozone through the same mechanism.

  • Baker’s yeast
  • Candida albicans
  • Common yeast cake
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae,
  • Saccharomyces ellipsoideus,
  • Saccharomyces sp.



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