Kumar M, Kuroda K, Patel AK, Patel N, Bhattacharya P, Joshi M, Joshi CG
Sci Total Environ 754 (-) 142329 [2021-02-01; online 2020-09-15]
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 m 3 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.