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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Natural Inactivation of Enteric Viruses in Seawater


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 18 No. 1, p. 34-39
    Received: Oct 29, 1987

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. R. Girones,
  2. J. Jofre and
  3. A. Bosch *
  1. Natl. Inst. of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Hepatitis Viruses Section, Natl. Inst. of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892;
    Dep. of Microbiology, Univ. of Barcelona, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.



The stability of viruses in marine water was evaluated. Poliovirus 1 was readily inactivated in seawater from five different sources. Moderately polluted water samples showed more antiviral activity than more heavily polluted or unpolluted samples. An antiviral activity coefficient (AVA) was calculated to express the level of antiviral activity in the test samples, demonstrating the occurrence of natural virus-inactivating phenomena in all the marine samples but not in freshwater samples. The major virus-inactivating agent(s) appeared to be of bacteriological nature on the basis of the physical size and the susceptibility of the antiviral activity to thermal and antibiotic treatments. In studies on comparative survival, poliovirus 1 showed faster decay rates than rotavirus SA11, coliphage f2, and bacteriophage B40-8 under laboratory and field conditions. No differences among the other viral strains were observed. The validity of bacteriophages as surrogate indicators of viral pollutants in the marine environment is discussed.

Contribution from the Dep. of Microbiology, Univ. of Barcelona, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.

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