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Does using UV ray mechanism on food items kill the coronavirus?

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Does using UV ray mechanism on food items kill the coronavirus?

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Use of UV rays- significance and concerns associated.

 Context: Many sweet shop owners across India have started using the UV light mechanism to disinfect food items and killing the virus.

How is it being used?

UV radiations are normally used to kill microorganisms.

Particularly, UV-C, also known as Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) is a disinfection method that uses short-wavelength ultraviolet light to kill or inactivate microorganisms by destroying their nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA, leaving them unable to perform vital cellular functions and stops their replication.

  • UVGI is used in a variety of applications, such as food, air, and water disinfection.
  • Few research studies have found that UVC radiation is also effective in killing coronaviruses on various surfaces, but efficiency is variable for different kinds of surfaces depending on their texture.

What is UV radiation?

UV radiation is the portion of the Electro Magnetic spectrum between X-rays and visible light.

uv_radiation

The most common form of UV radiation is sunlight, which produces three main types of UV rays:

  1. UVA
  2. UVB
  3. UVC

Key features:

  • UVA rays have the longest wavelengths, followed by UVB, and UVC rays which have the shortest wavelengths.
  • While UVA and UVB rays are transmitted through the atmosphere, all UVC and some UVB rays are absorbed by the Earth’s ozone layer. So, most of the UV rays you come in contact with are UVA with a small amount of UVB.

Sources: Indian Express.