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Environmental Microbiology | Microbial Ecology and Diversity
Microbiol. Biotechnol. Lett.
Seul-Ki Park 1*, Daeun Lee 2, Du-min Jo 2, 3, Mi-Ru Song 2 and Young-Mog Kim 2, 3
1Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, 2Department of Food Science and Technology, 3Research Center for Marine Integrated Bionics Technology
Correspondence to :
Seul-Ki Park, Room 1414, Building A-12, Pukyong National University, Busan 48513, South Korea 
Tel : +82-51-629-5832, Fax : +82-51-629-5824, E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19, the demand for face masks is soaring and has sometime caused a shortage. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of ultraviolet (UV) and drying treatment on microbial contaminants in facial masks. To conduct this study, standard procedures were designed to develop samples contaminated by control bacteria, Escherichia coli (EC), Staphylococcus aureus (SA), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA). The contamination level of the standard samples was about 6.8 log CFU/mL, and the UV light treatment was performed 1, 3, 5, and 7 times. For evaluation of the effect on the UV and drying treatment, UV was treated 1, 2, and 3 times first, and then the drying process was performed. As a result, the mask contaminated with EC and PA showed about 99.9% bactericidal rate in 1 time UV irradiation, and in the case of SA contaminated mask, it exhibited about 99.9% bactericidal rate in 7 times irradiation. However, when the drying process was included after UV irradiation, all the samples contaminated with EC, SA, and PA showed a bactericidal rate of 99.9% or more. The results of this study suggest that UV and drying treatment could effectively reduce the bacterial contaminants in the facial masks. In addition, these results are provided fundamental data and appropriate sterilization methods for reusing the masks.
Keywords: Bacterial contaminants, Sterilization, UV light, Facial mask, Drying