Concentration and Recovery of Viruses from Water: A Comprehensive Review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


Enteric viruses are a cause of waterborne disease worldwide, and low numbers in drinking water can present a significant risk of infection. Because the numbers are often quite low, large volumes (100-1,000 L) of water are usually processed. The VIRADEL method using microporous filters is most commonly used today for this purpose. Negatively charged filters require the addition of multivalent salts and acidification of the water sample to effect virus adsorption, which can make large-volume sampling difficult. Positively charged filters require no preconditioning of samples, and are able to concentrate viruses from water over a greater pH range than electronegative filters. The most widely used electropositive filter is the Virosorb 1MDS; however, the Environmental Protection Agency has added the positively charged NanoCeram filters to their proposed Method 1615. Ultrafilters concentrate viruses based on size exclusion rather than electrokinetics, but are impractical for field sampling or processing of turbid water. Elution (recovery) of viruses from filters following concentration is performed with organic (e. g., beef extract) or inorganic solutions (e. g., sodium polyphosphates). Eluates are then reconcentrated to decrease the sample volume to enhance detection methods (e. g., cell culture infectivity assays and molecular detection techniques). While the majority of available filters have demonstrated high virus retention efficiencies, the methods to elute and reconcentrate viruses have met with varying degrees of success due to the biological variability of viruses present in water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-67
Number of pages27
JournalFood and Environmental Virology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Concentration
  • Detection
  • Elution
  • Filtration
  • Viruses in water
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Food Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Virology


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