© Fraunhofer IOSB-AST/Martin Käßler
UV light inactivates germs in drinking water. Until now, the disinfection process relied on mercury-vapor lamps, which emit light in the UV spectrum. However, mercury is a heavy metal that affects human health and the environment. Fraunhofer researchers are investigating a greener and more efficient alternative, which uses UV LEDs to destroy bacterial DNA. The technology is also suitable for disinfecting brewing water and for disinfecting the caps for bottled beer, soft drinks, and mineral water during the filling process.