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Environ Sci Technol. 2012 Oct 16;46(20):11145-53. doi: 10.1021/es3028764. Epub 2012 Sep 25.

Influence of inorganic ions on aggregation and adsorption behaviors of human adenovirus.

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Ecosystems Research Division, United States Environmental Protection Agency, 960 College Station Road, Athens, Georgia 30605, USA.


In this study, we investigated the influence of inorganic ions on the aggregation and deposition (adsorption) behavior of human adenovirus (HAdV). Experiments were conducted to determine the surface charge and size of HAdV and viral adsorption capacity of sand in different salt conditions. The interfacial potential energy was calculated using extended Derjaguin and Landau, Verwey and Overbeek (XDLVO) and steric hindrance theories to interpret the experimental results. Results showed that different compositions of inorganic ions have minimal effect on varying the iso-electric point pH (pH(iep)) of HAdV (ranging from 3.5 to 4.0). Divalent cations neutralized/shielded virus surface charge much more effectively than monovalent cations at pH above pH(iep). Consequently, at neutral pH the presence of divalent cations enhanced the aggregation of HAdV as well as its adsorption to sand. Aggregation and adsorption behaviors generally agreed with XDLVO theory; however, in the case of minimal electrostatic repulsion, steric force by virus' fibers can increase the energy barrier and distance of secondary minimum, resulting in limited aggregation and deposition. Overall, our results indicated that subsurface water with low hardness residing in sandy soils may have a higher potential of being contaminated by HAdV.

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