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J Environ Qual. 2009 Feb 25;38(2):822-5. doi: 10.2134/jeq2008.0152. Print 2009 Mar-Apr.

Comparison of hollow-fiber ultrafiltration to the USEPA VIRADEL technique and USEPA method 1623.

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  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases, Division of Parasitic Diseases, 4770 Buford Hwy, Mailstop F-36, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.


Hollow-fiber ultrafiltration (UF) is a technique that is increasingly viewed as an effective alternative for simultaneously recovering diverse microbes (e.g., viruses, bacteria, parasites) from large volumes of drinking water. The USEPA has organism-specific methods, including Method 1623 for Cryptosporidium and Giardia and the virus adsorption-elution (VIRADEL) technique using 1MDS electropositive filters. In this study, we directly compare the performance of a previously published UF method to that of the USEPA Method 1623 (for recovering Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia intestinalis) and the 1MDS VIRADEL method (for bacteriophages and echovirus) using 100-L dechlorinated tap water samples. The UF method produced significantly higher recoveries of C. parvum versus Method 1623 (83% mean recovery for UF versus 46% mean recovery for Method 1623), while recoveries for G. intestinalis were similar for both methods. Results of the virus method comparison showed the UF method (including secondary concentration using microconcentrators) to be very effective for the recovery of echovirus 1, bacteriophage MS2, and bacteriophage phi X174, with mean recovery efficiencies of 58, 100, and 77%, respectively. The VIRADEL technique (including secondary concentration by organic flocculation) recovered significantly less echovirus 1, and the bacteriophages could not be quantified by the method due to phage inactivation and/or assay inhibition. The results of this study demonstrate that the UF technique can be as effective, or more effective, than established USEPA methods for recovery of viruses and protozoan parasites from 100-L tap water samples.

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