A study of the lethal action of solar radiation on strains of E.coli K12, proficient or deficient in repair systems, as well as the wild type strain gene products are involved in repair of damage induced by solar radiation. The inactivation of the various bacterial strains (normalized to a dose equivalent to radiation at a wavelength 254 nm) suggests that the more energetic wavelengths of the solar spectrum (290-320 nm) could be responsible for the primary damage that occurs in the DNA. The reduction in the shoulder of the survival curve in wild type strains in indicative of induction of sub-lethal damage in this region of the curve. Analysing solar inactivation curves of the bacterial strains (normalised by spore dosimetry) together with those of the same strains irradiated with UV at 254 nm, it was evident that 254 nm is not the ideal wavelength for comparison. This analysis also indicated that in addition to damage to DNA, other factors are involved in the solar radiation inactivation of wild type strains. (author).