Comparative analysis of Adsorption-Extraction (AE) and Nanotrap® Magnetic Virus Particles (NMVP) workflows for the recovery of endogenous enveloped and non-enveloped viruses in wastewater

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In this study, two virus concentration methods, namely Adsorption-Extraction (AE) and Nanotrap® Magnetic Virus Particles (NMVP) along with commercially available extraction kits were used to quantify endogenous pepper mild mottle virus (PMMoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in nucleic acid extracted from 48 wastewater samples collected over six events from eight wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). The main aim was to determine which workflow (i.e., concentration and extraction methods) produces greater concentrations of endogenous PMMoV and SARS-CoV-2 gene copies (GC) in comparison with each other. Turbidity and total suspended solids (TSS) of wastewater samples within and among the eight WWTPs were highly variable (41-385 NTU and 77-668 mg/L TSS). In 58 % of individual wastewater samples, the log GC concentrations of PMMoV were greater by NMVP workflow compared to AE workflow. Paired measurements of PMMoV GC/10 mL from AE and NMVP across all 48 wastewater samples were weakly correlated (r = 0.455, p = 0.001) and demonstrated a poor linear relationship (r = 0.207). The log GC concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 in 69 % of individual samples were greater by AE workflow compared to NMVP workflow. In contrast to PMMoV, the AE and NMVP derived SARS-CoV-2 GC counts were strongly correlated (r = 0.859, p < 0.001) and demonstrated a strong linear relationship (r = 0.738). In general, the PMMoV GC achieved by the NMVP workflow decreased with increasing turbidity, but the PMMoV GC by the AE workflow did not appear to be as sensitive to either turbidity or TSS levels. These findings suggest that wastewater sample turbidity or suspended solids concentration, and the intended target for analysis should be considered when validating an optimal workflow for wastewater surveillance of viruses.

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The Science of the total environment

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