The mechanism of enteroviral inactivation by ozone was investigated with poliovirus 1 (Mahoney) as the model virus. Ozone was observed to alter two of the four polypeptide chains present in the viral protein coat of poliovirus 1. However, the alteration of the protein coat did not significantly impair virus adsorption or alter the integrity of the virus particle. Damage to the viral RNA after exposure to ozone was demonstrated by velocity sedimentation analysis. It was concluded that the damage to the viral nucleic acid is the major cause of poliovirus 1 inactivation by ozone.