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Can UV Light Kill Fungus: Exploring the Power of UV C Light in Fungus Eradication



In recent studies, it has been found that UV light can effectively kill fungus. Specifically, UV C light within the range of 200 to 280 nm has emerged as one of the most common techniques used to kill and/or inactivate pathogenic microorganisms.

This article explores the potential of UV light, particularly UV C light, as a powerful tool to combat fungal growth and its impact on human health.

The Efficacy of UV C Light in Killing Fungus

Studies have demonstrated that UV C light, particularly at a wavelength of 275 nm from a light-emitting diode (UVC-LED light), can effectively inactivate both bacteria and fungi with very short irradiation times in vitro.

Furthermore, this treatment did not induce DNA damage nor cause epidermal lesions in the mice's skin, highlighting its potential for safe usage.

However, it is important to note that the traditional wavelength most commonly used for UV light treatment is 254 nm, irradiated from a low-pressure mercury lamp. This traditional method poses risks to human health, as it is known to be carcinogenic and harmful to eye tissues, limiting its applications in vivo.

Fungus Growth and Tolerance under Visible Light

Interestingly, research has shown that growth under visible light can increase conidia and mucilage production, as well as tolerance to UV-B radiation in the plant pathogenic fungus Colletotrichum acutatum.

This finding suggests that different light spectrums can have varying effects on fungal behavior and could potentially be utilized to manipulate fungus growth.

Alternative Heat Treatment for Fungus Eradication

Apart from UV light, dry heat treatment has also been explored for killing fungus cultures. Heat treatment at 55 °C for 30 and 60 minutes has proven effective in killing cultures of Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, Botryodiplodia theobromae, and Sclerotium rolfsii in PDA.

However, it was not effective against Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum, indicating that different fungal species may respond differently to heat treatment.

Limitations of UV Light Treatment

While UV-C treatment has shown promise, not all fungus models respond effectively to it in PDA (Potato Dextrose Agar) media. Some fungi may be more resistant to UV-C light, necessitating further research to determine its effectiveness on specific types of fungus.

Additionally, the optimal exposure time and distance for UV light treatment need to be identified to ensure its maximum efficacy.


UV light, particularly UV C light, has emerged as a potential game-changer in the fight against fungal growth. It has shown remarkable results in inactivating both bacteria and fungi, and its application can be tailored to specific fungal species for effective eradication.

However, caution should be exercised in using traditional UV light sources due to their harmful effects on human health.


Is UV light completely safe for humans?

While UV-C light has shown promising results in inactivating pathogens and fungi, traditional UV light sources at 254 nm can be harmful to human health, being carcinogenic and damaging to eye tissues. It is crucial to use UV light with appropriate safety measures.

Can UV light treatment be used on all types of fungi?

While UV light treatment has shown efficacy against many fungi, not all species respond equally. Further research is required to understand the effectiveness of UV light on specific fungal types.

How long does UV light treatment take to kill fungi?

The duration of UV light treatment depends on various factors, including the type of fungus, distance from the light source, and the intensity of UV light. Optimal exposure times need to be determined for each fungal species.

What are the alternative methods for killing fungus?

Apart from UV light treatment, dry heat treatment has shown effectiveness against certain fungal cultures. However, its efficacy may vary depending on the fungal species.

Can visible light affect fungal growth?

Studies have indicated that visible light can influence fungal behavior, affecting conidia and mucilage production, as well as tolerance to UV-B radiation.