How does ozone kill bacteria?

Posted by Joel Leusink on March 28, 2010 under Ozone Food Processing | 17 Comments to Read

Below is a computer generated illustration of how ozone kills healthy bacteria.

Effect of Ozone on Bacteria

Effect of Ozone on Bacteria

Effect of Ozone on Bacteria

Effect of Ozone on Bacteria

Effect of Ozone on Bacteria

Effect of Ozone on Bacteria


  1. A healthy bacillus bacterial cell (waiting to ruin your day).
  2. Zooming in closer, Ozone (light green) comes into contact with the cell wall. The cell wall is vital to the bacteria because it ensures the organism can maintain its shape.
  3. As ozone molecules make contact with the cell wall, a reaction called an oxidative burst occurs which literally creates a tiny hole in the cell wall.
  4. A newly created hole in the cell wall has injured the bacterium.
  5. The bacterium begins to lose its shape while ozone molecules continue creating holes in the cell wall.
  6. After thousands of ozone collisions over only a few seconds, the bacterial wall can no longer maintain its shape and the cell dies.

Note: bacteria cannot build an immunity to ozone due to the oxidation that occurs on the cell wall.

For more bacteria reduction information follow the links below:

  • E.coli Outbreak forces lettuce recall : Ozone Journal said,

    […] Ozone Kills Bacteria Share This Post: […]

  • Hussien AL-Shammery said,

    I question whether ozone affects fish tissue during the killing of the bacteria or not, and what is evidence for that?

  • How quickly does ozone kill bacteria? » Ozone Journal said,

    […] To see how ozone kills bacteria click HERE […]

  • Joel Leusink said,

    Ozone should not affect the fish tissue. We have many applications where ozone is used in the seafood processing industry. For more details below are links to a few white papers on this exact subject:

    For more information, or for complete access to these papers and others please e-mail or fill our our contact us section of our website.

  • Ozone used to Disinfect Hospital Rooms » Ozone Journal said,

    […] Learn more about how ozone kills bacteria HERE […]

  • Water Purification Using Ozone | COMSOL Blog said,

    […] remaining oxygen atom then more readily bonds with viruses and bacteria it comes in contact with. This process causes holes to form in the cell walls of organic organisms, a reaction that destroys bacteria, viruses, and many types […]

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  • Emma Birse said,

    Can you provide any links to papers that show cell lysis by ozone?

    Many thanks!

  • mukesh raikwar said,

    is ozone kills aerobic thermophilic & mesophilic Spores

  • Christian Paul said,

    Thanks for making this website! Me and my partner are doing a science experiment and we used this site! It is awesome!

  • utpal parel said,

    Sir i am using direct ozone gas on mangoes but small holes are occure on the surface of mango what the reson behind that?

  • Joseph Tanenbaum said,

    If ozone water is killing the bad guys, is it killing all the good, helpful flora in my guts, also?

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