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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1998 Feb;64(2):405-10.

Delineating the specific influence of virus isoelectric point and size on virus adsorption and transport through sandy soils.

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Environmental Science Program, Texas A&M University Research Center, El Paso 79927, USA.


Many of the factors controlling viral transport and survival within the subsurface are still poorly understood. In order to identify the precise influence of viral isoelectric point on viral adsorption onto aquifer sediment material, we employed five different spherical bacteriophages (MS2, PRD1, Q beta, phi X174, and PM2) having differing isoelectric points (pI 3.9, 4.2, 5.3, 6.6, and 7.3 respectively) in laboratory viral transport studies. We employed conventional batch flowthrough columns, as well as a novel continuously recirculating column, in these studies. In a 0.78-m batch flowthrough column, the smaller phages (MS2, phi X174, and Q beta), which had similar diameters, exhibited maximum effluent concentration/initial concentration values that correlated exactly with their isoelectric points. In the continuously recirculating column, viral adsorption was negatively correlated with the isoelectric points of the viruses. A model of virus migration in the soil columns was created by using a one-dimensional transport model in which kinetic sorption was used. The data suggest that the isoelectric point of a virus is the predetermining factor controlling viral adsorption within aquifers. The data also suggest that when virus particles are more than 60 nm in diameter, viral dimensions become the overriding factor.

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