History of UV-C applications: Back to Basics!

What is UV radiation? Where does it come from? What are the effects of this radiation?
We will answer these and many other questions in short but compact stories in the near future. Today, we're going to take a look at a few basic facts about UV and UV-C radiation. And it will be anything but boring! For example, did you know that bees are much better at dealing with UV radiation than humans are?

UV radiation’s natural source is the sun. This emits light, which is indispensable for almost all life on earth. But the human eye can only perceive a fraction of sunlight. UV rays belong to that part of sunlight that humans cannot see. These short-wave rays have a wavelength between 400nm and 10nm. Within the class of UV rays, a further distinction is made: UV-A, UV-B and UV-C rays. In principle, all three types of UV light are harmful to living organisms. For example, UV-B rays are responsible for the development of sunburns and the associated DNA damage. 

UV-C rays are the most aggressive within this genus. But they are completely absorbed by the earth's atmosphere. Thus, they do not reach the earth in their natural form. When UV-C rays hit living cells, they change their DNA. This has serious consequences for the smallest living organisms, which consist of only one or a few cells. If these are irradiated with UV-C light, they can no longer reproduce themselves or die directly. For humans, UV-C radiation poses a much lower threat than for microorganisms. In science, even the short-term but direct irradiation of bacterially infected burns to kill the bacteria and the associated faster wound healing is sometimes discussed (Dai et al. 2011).

Overall, however, the basic rule applies: UV-C radiation is dangerous, can cause skin irritation and damage in human eyes in particular. Any contact should be avoided! With the RZB CARE products we want to protect human life. In order not to create any additional risk - that of UV-C radiation - all RZB CARE products have a sealed lamp compartment made of metal. This means that no UV-C radiation escapes.

Biene im UV-Licht

And why are bees superior to humans in dealing with UV radiation? Bees are real superheroes anyway! Their importance for intact ecosystems is enormous. Did you know that May 20 is the official World Bee Day? 

Bees continue to perceive colors fundamentally differently than humans. For example, they cannot see the color red. Red looks to these animals like the color black looks to humans. But bees are able to see parts of the ultraviolet radiation spectrum, up to about 350nm. That is, the part that is invisible to humans. Exciting, isn't it?

 

Sources:

1) Dai, T.; Kharkwal, G. B.; Zhao, J.; Denis, T. G. St.; Wu, Q.;  Xia, Y.;Huang, L.; Sharma, S. K. S.;  d’Enfert, C.; Hamblin, M. R. (2011). Photochemistry and Photobiology Vol. 87. No. 2: Ultraviolet‐C Light for Treatment of Candida albicans Burn Infection in Mice. Zugriff am 17.05.2021 unter: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1751-1097.2011.00886.x

Picture: https://pixabay.com/de/photos/honigbiene-biene-bienen-insekt-3930374/