Effects of environmental variables and soil characteristics on virus survival in soil

C. J. Hurst, C. P. Gerba, I. Cech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

177 Scopus citations


Because of the increasing emphasis placed upon land application as a means of wastewater disposal, it is important to evaluate the influences of different factors upon virus survival in soil. The objective of this study was to measure the effects of various environmental variables on virus persistence. Test samples of soil were placed in vials, and the soil was wetted with suspensions of virus in either distilled water, unchlorinated secondary sewage effluent, or mixtures of effluent and water. The viruses used were coxsackieviruses A9 and B3, echovirus 1, poliovirurs 1, rotavirus SA11, and bacteriophages T2 and MS2. The rate of virus inactivation was evaluated statistically with regard to conditions under which the vials were incubated and to the soil characteristics. The factors that were found to influence virus survival were temperature, soil moisture content, presence of aerobic micro-organisms, degree of virus adsorption to the soil, soil levels of resin-extractable phosphorus, exchangeable aluminum, and soil pH. Overall, temperature and virus adsorption to soil appeared to be the most important factors affecting virus survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1067-1079
Number of pages13
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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