Ultraviolet light shows promise in trials to determine whether it could control Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome (PRSS) in hog barns, report two researchers funded by the National Pork Council.
They already knew that ultraviolet light can be used to reduce hog barn odours by killing bacteria floating in the air.
They reasoned that it might also control the virus when it’s floating on droplets. Those virus-laden droplets can hang around for a long time and even travel more than a mile from farm to farm.
The three forms of ultraviolet light analyzed in the study included conventional ultraviolet light, known as UV-C; light from novel excimer lamps that produce light with especially short wavelengths; and UV-A light, sometimes referred to as near-visible black light.
Both the conventional and excimer UV light demonstrated an ability to inactivate the virus and show promise as potential avenues to fight PRRS. Exposure to ultraviolet light can pose a risk for people and pigs, but the excimer light involved in the study has been shown to be less harmful. The black light, which has been shown to be helpful in tamping down odour-causing gases, did not have a significant effect on the PRRS virus, according to the research.
The researchers are Jacek Koziel, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and Jeff Zimmerman, professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, both at the University of Iowa.