The simple conclusion of former investigators that the shorter the wave length of ultra violet light the greater the bactericidal action is in error. A study with measured monochromatic energy reveals a characteristic curve of bactericidal effectiveness with a striking maximum between 260 and 270 m.µ. The reciprocal of this abiotic energy curve suggests its close relation to specific light absorption by some single essential substance in the cell.
Methods are described for determining the absorption curve, or absorption coefficients, of intact bacteria. These curves for S. aureus and B. coli have important points of similarity and of difference with the reciprocals of the curves of bactericidal incident energy, and point the way in a further search for the specific substance, or substances, involved in the lethal reaction.