MS‐2 and poliovirus transport in porous media: Hydrophobic effects and chemical perturbations

Roger C. Bales, Shimin Li, Kimberly M. Maguire, Moyasar T. Yahya, Charles P. Gerba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


In a series of pH 7 continuous‐flow column experiments, removal of the bacteriophage MS‐2 by attachment to silica beads had a strong, systematic dependence on the amount of hydrophobic surface present on the beads. With no hydrophobic surface, removal of phage at pH 5 was much greater than at pH 7. Release of attached phage at both pH values did occur, but was slow; breakthrough curves exhibited tailing. Poliovirus attached to silica beads at pH 5.5 much more than at pH 7.0, and attachment was also slowly reversible. Time scales for phage and poliovinis attachment were of the order of hours. The sticking efficiency factor (α), reflecting microscaie physicochemical influences on virus attachment, was in the range of 0.0007–0.02. Phage release was small but measurable under steady state conditions. Release was enhanced by lowering ionic strength and by introducing beef extract, a high‐ionic‐strength protein solution. Results show that viruses experience reversible attachment/detachment (sometimes termed sorption), that large chemical perturbations are needed to induce rapid virus detachment, and that viruses should be quite mobile in sandy porous media. Even small amounts of hydrophobic organic material in the porous media (≥0.001%) can retard virus transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)957-963
Number of pages7
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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