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Binary oxide semiconductors TiO2-ZrO2 and Cu-decorated TiO2-ZrO2 (TiO2-ZrO2-Cu) uniform films were sputtered on polyester (PES). These films were irradiated under low intensity solar simulated light and led to bacterial inactivation in aerobic and anaerobic media as evaluated by CFU-plate counting. But bacterial mineralization was only induced by TiO2-ZrO2-Cu in aerobic media. The highly oxidative radicals generated on the films surface under light were identified by the use of appropriate scavengers. The hole generated on the TiO2-ZrO2 films is shown to be the main specie leading to bacterial inactivation. TiO2-ZrO2 and Cu-decorated TiO2-ZrO2 films release Zr and Ti< 1ppb and Cu 4.6 ppb/cm2 as determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) This level is far below the citotoxicity permitted level allowed for mammalian cells suggesting that bacterial disinfection proceeds through an oligodynamic effect. By Fourier transform attenuated infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) the systematic shift of the predominating vs(CH2) vibrational-rotational peak making up most of the bacterial cell-wall content in C was monitored. Based on this evidence a mechanism suggested leading to C-H bond stretching followed by cell lysis and cell death. Bacterial inactivation cycling was observed on TiO2-ZrO2-Cu showing the stability of these films leading to bacterial inactivation.