Viral inactivation using microwave-enhanced membrane filtration

Fangzhou Liu, Bruce Rittmann, Saachi Kuthari, Wen Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Pathogenic viruses (e.g., Enteroviruses, Noroviruses, Rotaviruses, and Adenovirus) present in wastewater, even at low concentrations, can cause serious waterborne diseases. Improving water treatment to enhance viral removal is of paramount significance, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic. This study incorporated microwave-enabled catalysis into membrane filtration and evaluated viral removal using a model bacteriophage (MS2) as a surrogate. Microwave irradiation effectively penetrated the PTFE membrane module and enabled surface oxidation reactions on the membrane-coated catalysts (i.e., BiFeO3), which thus elicited strong germicidal effects via local heating and radical formation as reported previously. A log removal of 2.6 was achieved for MS2 within a contact time as low as 20 s using 125-W microwave irradiation with the initial MS2 concentration of 105 PFU∙mL-1. By contrast, almost no inactivation could be achieved without microwave irradiation. COMSOL simulation indicates that the catalyst surface could be heated up to 305 oC with 125-W microwave irradiation for 20 s and also analyzed microwave penetration into catalyst or water film layers. This research provides new insights to the antiviral mechanisms of this microwave-enabled catalytic membrane filtration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number131966
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - Sep 15 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Bacteriophage MS2
  • Microwave catalysis
  • Microwave disinfection
  • Waterborne virus


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