Inactivation and Damage on Bacteriophage MS2 by Ammonia in Human Excret

Wakana Oishi1, Loïc Decrey2, Rui Tezuka1, Daisuke Sano1, *, Tamar Kohn2 and Naoyuki Funamizu1

1 Division of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Hokkaido University, N13W8, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-8628, Japan 2 Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry, School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), 1015 Lausanne, Switzerlan


This study aimed to investigate the fate of bacteriophage MS2 in concentrated human urine. Bacteriophage MS2 was inactivated in concentrated urine containing 0.3-2.4 M NH3, and quantified by plaque assay, quantitative PCR (qPCR) and enzymatic treatment-qPCR using six primer sets that cover the half of whole MS2 genome. Concentrated urine effectively inactivated the phage. Free ammonia in the hydrolysed urine was the most important constituent for the phage inactivation, while the increase in pH and osmotic pressure values did not give adverse effect on the phage infectivity. Damage on capsid was not observed, meanwhile the overall genome degradation rate, estimated from the degradation rate of each qPCR target region, was comparable with the rate of infectivity loss. These results show that damage on the genomic RNA by free-ammonia was the most important factor for inactivating bacteriophage MS2 in concentrated urine.

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