Characterization of sewage solid-associated viruses and behavior in natural waters

Charles P. Gerba, Charles H. Stagg, Marc G. Abadie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The association of bacteriophages and animal viruses with solids has been demonstrated to have a protective effect, resulting in enhanced survival in natural waters and resistance to inactivation by chlorine. In this study, attempts were made to differentiate solid-associated viruses and freely suspended viruses in secondarily treated sewage by the retention of sewage solids on membrane filters treated with fetal calf serum to prevent adsorption of freely suspended virus. Solid-associated viruses collected on membrane filters were eluted with pH 11.5, 0.05 M glycine buffer. The percentage of the total coliphage and animal virus associated with solids in secondarily treated sewage discharges ranged from < 1.0 to 24% and 3 to 100%, respectively. The largest quantity of solid-associated coliphage was attached to particles greater than 8.0 μm and less than 0.65 μm in size. Tapwater, lake water and estuarine water were all capable of eluting solid-associated coliphages. Elution of coliphages in marine water appeared to be related to the salinity of the water. Coliphages eluted from sewage solids in seawater could readsorb to naturally occurring marine sediment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-812
Number of pages8
JournalWater research
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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