UVC inactivation of dsDNA and ssRNA viruses in water: UV fluences and a qPCR-based approach to evaluate decay on viral infectivity
Disinfection by low-pressure monochromatic ultraviolet (UVC) radiation (253.7 nm) became an important technique to sanitize drinking water and also wastewater in tertiary treatments. In order to prevent the transmission of waterborne viral diseases, the analysis of the disinfection kinetics and the quantification of infectious viral pathogens and indicators are highly relevant and need to be addressed. The families Adenoviridae and Polyomaviridae comprise human and animal pathogenic viruses that have been also proposed as indicators of fecal contamination in water and as Microbial Source Tracking (MST) tools. While it has been previously suggested that dsDNA-viruses may be highly resistant to UVC radiation compared to other viruses or bacteria, no information is available on the stability of polyomavirus towards UV irradiation. Here, the inactivation of dsDNA (HAdV2 and JCPyV) and ssRNA (MS2 bacteriophage) viruses was analyzed at increasing UVC fluences, up to 1,800 J/m2. A minor decay of 2-logs was achieved for both infectious JC polyomaviruses (JCPyV) and human adenoviruses 2 (HAdV2) exposed to a UVC dose of 1,400 J/m2, while a decay of 4-log was observed for MS2 bacteriophages (ssRNA). The present study reveals the high UVC resistance of dsDNA viruses and the UV fluences needed to efficiently inactivate JCPyV and HAdV 2 are predicted. Furthermore, we show that in conjunction with appropriate mathematical models, qPCR data may be used to accurately estimate virus infectivity.