A novel electrochemical reactor employing activated carbon fiber (ACF) electrodes was constructed for disinfecting bacteria in drinking water. Escherichia coli adsorbed preferentially onto ACF rather than to carbon‐cloth or granular‐activated carbon. E. coli cells, which adsorbed onto the ACF, were killed electrochemically when a potential of 0.8 V vs. a saturated calomel electrode (SCE) was applied. Drinking water was passed through the reactor in stop‐flow mode: 2mL/min for 12 h, o L/min for 24 h, and 1 mL/min for 6 h. At an applied potential of 0.8 V vs, SCE, viable cell concentration reamined below 30 cells/mL. In the absence of an applied potential, bacteria grew to a maximum concentration of 9.5 × 103 cells/mL. After continuous operation at 0.8 V vs. SCE, cells adsorbed onto the ACF could not be observed by scanning electron microscopy. In addition, chlorine in drinking water was completely removed by the reactor. Therefore, clean and efficient inactivation of bacteria in drinking water was successfully performed. © 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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