Contribution of microbial activity to virus reduction in saturated soil

A. M. Nasser, R. Glozman, Y. Nitzan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Application of wastewater to soil may result in the contamination of groundwater and soil with pathogenic microorganisms and other biological and chemical agents. This study was performed to determine the antiviral microbial activity of soil saturated with secondary effluent. Low concentrations (0.05mg/ml) of protease pronase resulted in the inactivation of more than 90% of seeded Cox-A9 virus, whereas Poliovirus type 1, Hepatitis A virus (HAV) and MS2 bacteriophages were found to be insensitive to the enzyme activity. Exposure of Cox A9 virus to P. aeruginosa extracellular enzymes resulted in 99% inactivation of the seeded virus. Hepatitis A virus was found to be as sensitive as the Cox A9 virus, whereas Poliovirus 1 and MS2 were found to be insensitive to P. aeruginosa extracellular enzymatic activity. Furthermore, the time required for 99% reduction (T99) of Cox A9 and MS-2 Bacteriophage, at 15°C, in soil saturated with secondary effluent was found to be 7 and 21 days, respectively. Faster inactivation was observed for MS2 and Cox A9 in soil saturated with secondary effluent incubated at 30°C, T99 of 2 and 0.3 days, respectively. Although the concentration of the total bacterial count in the soil samples increased from 103cfu/g to 105cfu/g after 20 days of incubation at 30°C, the proteolytic activity was below the detection level. The results of this study indicate that the virucidal effect of microbial activity is virus type dependent. Furthermore microbial activity in the soil material can be enhanced by the application of secondary effluent at higher temperature. The results also showed that MS2 bacteriophage can be used to predict viral contamination of soil and groundwater.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2589-2595
Number of pages7
JournalWater Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by Grant No. 8868-1-97 from the Ministry of Sciences, Division of Planning and Monitoring, State of Israel (to N.A.M.) and in part by the Health Sciences Research Foundation at the Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar–Ilan University (to NY).


  • Contamination
  • Inactivation
  • Microbial activity
  • Soil
  • Viruses
  • Wastewater
  • Wastewater reuse


Dive into the research topics of 'Contribution of microbial activity to virus reduction in saturated soil'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this