Innovative disinfection technologies are being studied for seawater, seeking a viable alternative to chlorination. This study proposes the use of H2O2/UV254 and photo-Fenton as disinfection treatment in seawater. The irradiations were carried out using a sunlight simulator (Suntest) and a cylindrical UV reactor. The efficiency of the treatment was compared for Milli-Q water, Leman Lake water and artificial seawater. The presence of bicarbonates and organic matter was investigated in order to evaluate possible effects on the photo-Fenton disinfection treatment. The photo-Fenton treatment, employing 1 mg L-1 Fe2+ and 10 mg L-1 of H2O2, led to the fastest bacterial inactivation kinetics. Using H2O2/UV254 high disinfection rates were obtained similar to those obtained with photo-Fenton under UV254 light. In Milli-Q water, the rate of inactivation for Escherichia coli was higher than in Leman Lake water and seawater due to the lack of inorganic ions affecting negatively bacteria inactivation. The presence of bicarbonate showed scavenging of the OH center dot radicals generated in the treatment of photo-Fenton and H2O2/UV254. Despite the negative effect of inorganic ions, especially HCOi, the disinfection treatments with AOPs in lake water and seawater improved significantly the disinfection compared to light alone (simulated sunlight and UV254). In the treatment of photo-Fenton with simulated sunlight, dissolved organic matter had a beneficial effect by increasing the rate of inactivation. This is associated with the formation of Fe3 -organo photosensitive complexes leading to the formation of ROS able to inactivate bacteria. This effect was not observed in the photoFenton with UV254 . Growth of E. coli surviving in seawater was observed 24 and 48 h after treatment with UV light. However, growth of surviving bacteria was not detected after photo-Fenton with UV254 and H2O2/UV254 treatments. This study suggests H2O2/UV254 and photo-Fenton treatments for the disinfection of seawater, in spite its high concentration of salts. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.