Ultraviolet rays kill cells by damaging their DNA. Exposure to electromagnetic radiation (light) of certain ultraviolet wavelengths can alter the genetic material of microorganisms and destroy their ability to reproduce. Ultraviolet energy triggers the formation of specific thymine or cysteine dimers in DNA and the formation of uracil dimers in RNA, leading to inactivation of microorganisms by causing mutations and/or cell death and inability to reproduce.
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