Assessment of the stability of human viruses and coliphage in groundwater by PCR and infectivity methods
Article first published online: 27 FEB 2009
© 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 The Society for Applied Microbiology
Journal of Applied Microbiology
Volume 106, Issue 6, pages 1827–1837, June 2009
How to Cite
Charles, K.J., Shore, J., Sellwood, J., Laverick, M., Hart, A. and Pedley, S. (2009), Assessment of the stability of human viruses and coliphage in groundwater by PCR and infectivity methods. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 106: 1827–1837. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2009.04150.x
- Issue published online: 6 MAY 2009
- Article first published online: 27 FEB 2009
- 2007/1962: received 4 December 2007, revised 12 August 2008 and accepted 31 August 2008
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°C. The order of virus stability from most to least stable in groundwater, based on first-order inactivation, was: coliphage ΦX174 (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.