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This study presents the first report on enhanced bacterial inactivation of E. coli by RF-plasma pretreated cotton with high-surface-area CuO powders compared with nonpretreated cotton textiles. The high-surface-area CuO (65 m/g) powder was fully characterized. The E. coli inactivation proceeded in the dark and was accelerated under visible and sunlight irradiation even at very low levels of visible light irradiation. The effect the RF-plasma pretreatment of the cotton on the binding of CuO, applied light dose, the amount of CuO loading and initial E. coli concentration on the inactivation kinetics of E. coli is reported in detail.