Use of dyes and proteins as indicators of virus adsorption to soils

Shri N. Singh, M. Bassous, Charles P. Gerba, Lee M. Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Outbreaks of viral diseases have been associated with contamination of ground water sources by viral migration from septic tanks. A better understanding of virus adsorption to soils might help elucidate the possible mechanism of subsurface virus migration and ultimate contamination of ground water sources. The present investigation sought a simple test that could predict virus adsorption to soils. Two dyes, methylene blue (positively charged) and amaranth (negatively charged), and three proteins, ferritin (p1 4.5), myoglobin (p1 7.3) and cytochrome-c (p1 9.3), were evaluated as potential indicators of virus adsorption to 20 different soils. The results indicated that no single indicator could predict the adsorption pattern for the different viruses which were evaluated with the soils tested. However, the viruses could be divided into two groups based on their similarities to adsorption of ferritin and cytochrome-c to soils. The other three indicators, myoglobin, methylene blue and amaranth did not significantly correlate with virus adsorption. Therefore, it is proposed that a two protein indicator system could be used to evaluate soils to predict virus adsorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-272
Number of pages6
JournalWater research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1986


  • adsorption
  • amaranth
  • cytochrome-c
  • ferritin
  • methylene blue
  • myoglobin
  • protein
  • soil
  • virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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