A study was conducted to determine the bactericidal effects of ozone and hydrogen peroxide relative to that of free chlorine on Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1. In laboratory batch-type experiments, organisms seeded at various densities were exposed to different concentrations of these biocides in demand-free buffers. Bactericidal effects were measured by determining the ability of L. pneumophila to grow on buffered charcoal-yeast extract agar supplemented with alpha-ketoglutarate. Ozone was the most potent of the three biocides, with a greater than 99% kill of L. pneumophila occurring during a 5-min exposure to 0.10 to 0.30 micrograms of O3 per ml. The bactericidal action of O3 was not markedly affected by changes in pH or temperature. Concentrations of 0.30 and 0.40 micrograms of free chlorine per ml killed 99% of the L. pneumophila after 30- and 5-min exposures, respectively. A 30-min exposure to 1,000 micrograms of H2O2 per ml was required to effect a 99% reduction of the viable L. pneumophila population. However, no viable L. pneumophila could be detected after a 24-h exposure to 100 or 300 micrograms of H2O2 per ml. Attempts were made to correlate the biocidal effects of O3 and H2O2 with the oxidation of L. pneumophila fatty acids. These tests indicated that certain biocidal concentrations of O3 and H2O2 resulted in a loss or severe reduction of L. pneumophila unsaturated fatty acids.

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