Decay of SARS-CoV-2 RNA along the wastewater treatment outfitted with Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) system evaluated through two sample concentration techniques

Manish Kumar, Keisuke Kuroda, Arbind Kumar Patel, Nidhi Patel, Prosun Bhattacharya, Madhvi Joshi, Chaitanya G. Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

© 2020 Elsevier B.V. For the first time, we present, i) an account of decay in the genetic material loading of SARS-CoV-2 during Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) treatment of wastewater, and ii) comparative evaluation of polyethylene glycol (PEG), and ultrafiltration as virus concentration methods from wastewater for the quantification of SARS-CoV-2 genes. The objectives were achieved through tracking of SARS-CoV-2 genetic loadings i.e. ORF1ab, N and S protein genes on 8th and 27th May 2020 along the wastewater treatment plant (106000 m3 million liters per day) equipped with UASB system in Ahmedabad, India. PEG method performed better in removing materials inhibiting RT-qPCR for SARS-CoV-2 gene detection from the samples, as evident from constant and lower CT values of control (MS2). Using the PEG method, we found a reduction >1.3 log10 reduction in SARS-CoV-2 RNA abundance during UASB treatment, and the RNA was not detected at all in the final effluent. The study implies that i) conventional wastewater treatment systems is effective in SARS-CoV-2 RNA removal, and ii) UASB system significantly reduces SARS-CoV-2 genetic loadings. Finally, PEG method is recommended for better sensitivity and inhibition removal during SARS-CoV-2 RNA quantification in wastewater.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume754
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2021

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