Article Search

Microbiology and Biotechnology Letters


View PDF

Environmental Microbiology (EM)  |  Microbial Ecology and Diversity

Microbiol. Biotechnol. Lett. 2022; 50(1): 95-101

Received: September 28, 2021; Revised: January 6, 2022; Accepted: January 11, 2022

Ultraviolet 및 건조 처리에 의한 마스크에 오염된 미생물 살균 효과

Bactericidal Effect of Ultraviolet and Dry Treatment on Bacterial Contaminants in Facial Masks

Seul-Ki Park1, Da-eun Lee2, Du-Min Jo2,3, Mi-Ru Song2, and Young-Mog Kim3,4*

1Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, 57 Campus Dr., Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A9, Canada 2Department of Food Science and Technology, 3Research Center for Marine Integrated Bionics Technology, Pukyong National University, Busan 48513, Republic of Korea

Correspondence to :
Young-Mog Kim,

Due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19, the demand for face masks is soaring and has often caused a shortage. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of ultraviolet (UV) and drying treatments on microbial contaminants in facial masks. To conduct this study, standard procedures were designed to develop samples contaminated by the control bacteria Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The contamination level of the standard samples was approximately 6.30 × 106 CFU/ml, and the UV light treatment was performed 1, 3, 5, and 7 times. To evaluate the effect of the UV and drying treatments, the masks were first treated with UV 1, 2, and 3 times, followed by the drying process. As a result, the mask contaminated with E. coli and P. aeruginosa showed a bacterial rate of approximately 99.9% after 1 UV irradiation, and in the case of the S. aureus-contaminated mask, it exhibited a bactericidal rate of approximately 99.9% after 7 UV irradiations. However, when the drying process was included after UV irradiation, all the samples contaminated with E. coli, S. aureus, and P. aeruginosa showed a bactericidal rate of 99.9% or more. The results of this study suggest that UV and drying treatments can effectively reduce the bacterial contaminants in facial masks. In addition, these results provide fundamental data and appropriate sterilization methods for reusing masks.

Keywords: Bacterial contaminants, sterilization, UV light, facial mask, drying

Graphical Abstract

  1. CDC (11 February 2020). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Accessed Dec. 6, 2020.
  2. Kwon JY, Lim G, Kim SH, Shin HJ, Lee JY. 2020. Risk awareness to COVID-19 and wear behavior of protective masks between adults and adolescent living in Seoul and Gyunggi Province. J. Commun. Living Sci. 31: 335-351.
  3. Celina MC, Martinez E, Omana MA, Sanchez A, Wiemann D, Tezak M, et al. 2020. Extended use of face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic - Thermal conditioning and spray-on surface disinfection. Polym. Degrad. Stab. 179: 109251.
    Pubmed KoreaMed
  4. Gertsman S, Agarwal A, O’Hearn K, Webster R, Tsampalieros A, Barrowman N, et al. 2020. Microwave- and heat-based decontamination of N95 filtering facepiece Respirators A systematic review. J. Hosp. Infect. 106: 536-553.
    Pubmed KoreaMed
  5. Juang PSC, Tsai P 2020. N95 respirator cleaning and reuse methods proposed by the inventor of the N95 mask material. J. Emerg. Med. 58: 817-820.
    Pubmed KoreaMed
  6. O’Hearn K, Gertsman S, Sampson M, Webster R, Tsampalieros A, Ng R, Gibson J, et al. 2020. Decontaminating N95 and SN95 masks with ultraviolet germicidal irradiation does not impair mask efficacy and safety. J. Hosp. Infect. 106: 163-175.
    Pubmed KoreaMed
  7. Ou Q, Pei C, Kim SC, Abell E, Pui DYH. 2020. Evaluation of decontamination methods for commercial and alternative respirator and mask materials - View from filtration aspect. J. Aerosol. Sci. 150: 105609.
    Pubmed KoreaMed
  8. Rubio-Romero JC, Pardo-Ferreira MC, Torrecilla-García JA, Calero-Castro S. 2020. Disposable masks - Disinfection and sterilization for reuse, and non-certified manufacturing, in the face of shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. Saf. Sci. 129:104830.
    Pubmed KoreaMed
  9. Zorko DJ, Gertsman S, O’Hearn K, Timmerman N, Ambu-Ali N, Dinh T, et al. 2020. Decontamination interventions for the reuse of surgical mask personal protective equipment - A systematic review. J. Hosp. Infect. 106: 283-294.
    Pubmed KoreaMed
  10. Kim HS. 2021. A study on the skin stress recognition and beauty care status due to wearing masks. J. Appl. Sci. Technol. 38: 465475.
  11. Bae SE. 2021. The effect of wearing a mask due to Covid-19 on the skin condition and skin care behavior of adults. Master degree.
  12. Rodriguez-Martinez CE, Sossa-Briceño MP, Cortés JA. 2020. Decontamination and reuse of N95 filtering facemask respirators - A systematic review of the literature. Am. J. Infect. Control 48: 1520-1532.
    Pubmed KoreaMed
  13. Jung JY, Lee JY. 2021. Effects of heating and UV sterilization of repeatedly reused face masks on inhalation resistance and fiber structure. Fash Text. 23: 406-414.
  14. Pyo EJ, Lee KH. 2019. A study of the mask and hand contamination in dental clinic. J. Korean Soc. Integr. Med. 7: 85-94.
  15. Jay JM, Loessner MJ, Golden DA. 2005. Food protection with high temperatures, and characteristics of thermophilic microorganisms. Modern Food Microbiology, pp. 415-441.
  16. Mai-Prochnow A, Clauson M, Hong J, Murphy AB. 2016. Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria differ in their sensitivity to cold plasma. Sci. Rep. 6: 38610.
    Pubmed KoreaMed
  17. Rattanakul S, Oguma K. 2018. Inactivation kinetics and efficiencies of UV-LEDs against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Legionella pneumophila, and surrogate microorganisms. Water Res. 130:31-37.
  18. Hassen A, Mahrouk M, Ouzari H, Cherif M, Boudabous A, Damelincourt JJ. 2000. UV disinfection of treated wastewater in a large-scale pilot plant and inactivation of selected bacteria in a laboratory UV device. Bioresour. Technol. 74: 141-150.
  19. Kierat W, Augustyn W, Koper P, Pawlyta M, Chrusciel A, Wyrwol B. 2020. The use of UVC irradiation to sterilize filtering facepiece masks limiting airborne cross-infection. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17: 7396.
    Pubmed KoreaMed
  20. Jo HG, Kim MJ, Moon BY, Sin YS, Lee KS, Cheong SH. 2021. Nutritional and microbiological properties of salted semi-dried mullet (Chelon haematocheilus) prepared by various processing methods. J. Korean Soc. Food Sci. Nutr. 26: 20-30.
  21. Kim AN, Ko HS, Lee KY, Rahman MS, Heo HJ, Choi SG. 2017. The effect of superheated steam drying on physicochemical and microbial characteristics of Korean traditional actinidia (Actinidia arguta) leaves. Korean J. Food Preserv. 24: 464-471.
  22. Kim JY, Bae YM, Hyun JE, Kim EM, Kim JC, Lee SY. 2017. Microbiological quality of dried and powdered foods stored at various relative humidities. J. East Asian Soc. Diet Life 27: 576-582.
  23. Jung JY, Lee JY. 2021. Effects of heating and UV sterilization of repeatedly reused face masks on inhalation resistance and fiber structure. Fashion Text. Res. J. 23: 406-414.
  24. Lim HS, Kim SM, Choi CS, Choi CS, Kong HJ, Kim JH. 1999. Development of UV sterilization system equipped in stainless steel tube. J. Food Process Eng. 3: 164-169.
  25. Shin DH, Lee YT. 2005. Manufacturing and characteristics of the electrodeless UV lamp for disinfection of the sewage effluent. Appl. Chem. 16: 570-575.
  26. Park SB, Kwon SC. 2015. Microbiological hazard analysis for HACCP system application to red pepper powder. J. Acad -Ind. Technol. 16: 2602-2608.
  27. Lee JW, Jung JJ, Choi EJ, Kang ST. 2009. Changes in quality of UV sterilized Takju during storage by honeycomb type-UV sterilizer. Korean J. Food Sci. Technol. 41: 652-656.
  28. Consumer Korea. (2018, April). National Public Health Statistics 2018. http://www.consumerskorea/. Accessed Jun. 1, 2021.

Starts of Metrics

Share this article on :

  • mail

Most KeyWord ?

What is Most Keyword?

  • It is most registrated keyword in articles at this journal during for 2 years.