Fate of enteric viruses during leafy greens (romaine lettuce) production using treated municipal wastewater and AP205 bacteriophage as a surrogate

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2021
Authors
Summerlin, Harvey
Pola, Cícero C.
Chamakura, Karthikeyan R.
Young, Ry
Gentry, Terry
McLamore, Eric S.
Karthikeyan, Raghupathy
Gomes, Carmen
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Taylor and Francis
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Mechanical EngineeringAgricultural and Biosystems EngineeringFood Science and Human NutritionVirtual Reality Applications Center
Abstract
Water reuse programs are being explored to close the gap between supply and demand for irrigation in agriculture. However, these sources could contain hazardous microbial contaminants, and pose risks to public health. This study aimed to grow and irrigate romaine lettuce with inoculated wastewater effluent to track AP205 bacteriophage prevalence through cultivation and post-harvest storage. AP205 is a bacteriophage and was used as a surrogate for enteric viruses. Low and high dosages (mean ± standard deviation) of AP205 at 4.8 ± 0.4 log PFU/mL and 6.6 ± 0.2 log PFU/mL; respectively, were prepared to examine viral load influence on contamination levels. Foliage, leachate, and soil contamination levels were directly related to AP205 concentrations in the effluent. AP205 concentrations increased throughout cultivation for foliage and leachate, suggesting bacteriophage accumulation. During post-harvest storage (14 day at 4 °C), there was a significant decrease in AP205 concentration on the foliage. Results show that wastewater effluents usage for leafy greens cultivation can pose risks to humans and additional steps are required to safely apply wastewater effluents to soils and crops.
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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A on 24 Aug 2021. It is available online at DOI: 10.1080/10934529.2021.1968231. Copyright 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Posted with permission.
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