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J Appl Microbiol. 2009 Jun;106(6):1827-37. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2009.04150.x. Epub 2009 Feb 27.

Assessment of the stability of human viruses and coliphage in groundwater by PCR and infectivity methods.

Author information

1
Robens Centre for Public and Environmental Health, University of Surrey, Guildford, England. k.charles@surrey.ac.uk

Abstract

AIM:

To investigate the potential health hazard from infectious viruses where coliphages, or viruses by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), have been detected in groundwater. Two aspects were investigated: the relationship between infectivity and detection by PCR and the stability of coliphage compared to human viruses.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Virus decay (1 year) and detection (2 years) studies were undertaken on groundwater at 12 degrees C. The order of virus stability from most to least stable in groundwater, based on first-order inactivation, was: coliphage PhiX174 (0.5 d(-1)) > adenovirus 2 > coliphage PRD1 > poliovirus 3 > coxsackie virus B1 (0.13 d(-1)). The order for PCR results was: norovirus genotype II > adenovirus > norovirus genotype I > enterovirus.

CONCLUSIONS:

Enterovirus and adenovirus detection by PCR and the duration of infectivity in groundwater followed similar trends over the time period studied. Adenovirus might be a better method for assessing groundwater contamination than using enterovirus; norovirus detection would provide information on a significant human health hazard. Bacteriophage is a good alternative indicator.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY:

PCR is a useful tool for identifying the health hazard from faecal contamination in groundwater where conditions are conducive to the survival of viruses and their nucleic acid.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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