Wavelength dependence of biological damage induced by UV radiation on bacteria
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The biological effects of UV radiation of different wavelengths (UVA, UVB and UVC) were assessed in nine bacterial isolates displaying different UV sensitivities. Biological effects (survival and activity) and molecular markers of oxidative stress [DNA strand breakage (DSB), generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), oxidative damage to proteins and lipids, and the activity of antioxidant enzymes catalase and superoxide dismutase] were quantified and statistically analyzed in order to identify the major determinants of cell inactivation under the different spectral regions. Survival and activity followed a clear wavelength dependence, being highest under UVA and lowest under UVC. The generation of ROS, as well as protein and lipid oxidation, followed the same pattern. DNA damage (DSB) showed the inverse trend. Multiple stepwise regression analysis revealed that survival under UVA, UVB and UVC wavelengths was best explained by DSB, oxidative damage to lipids, and intracellular ROS levels, respectively.
KeywordsUV radiation Bacteria Inactivation Oxidative stress
The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers and editors who provided helpful criticism and suggestions which greatly contributed to improve the original manuscript. Acknowledgments are due to Francisco Coelho and Abel Ferreira for assistance in UV intensity measurements and to Prof. Rosário Correia (Physics Department, Universiy of Aveiro) for reviewing the manuscript. Financial support for this work was provided by CESAM (Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies, University of Aveiro) and the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) in the form of a PhD grant to A. L. Santos (SFRH/BD/40160/2007) and a post-Doctoral grant to I. Henriques (SFRH/BPD/63487/2009).
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