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Effect of selected wastewater characteristics on estimation of SARS-CoV-2 viral load in wastewater.

Authors
  • Amoah, Isaac Dennis1
  • Abunama, Taher1
  • Awolusi, Oluyemi Olatunji1
  • Pillay, Leanne1
  • Pillay, Kriveshin1
  • Kumari, Sheena2
  • Bux, Faizal1
  • 1 Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology, Durban University of Technology, P.O. Box 1334, Durban, 4000, South Africa. , (South Africa)
  • 2 Institute for Water and Wastewater Technology, Durban University of Technology, P.O. Box 1334, Durban, 4000, South Africa. Electronic address: [email protected] , (South Africa)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Environmental Research
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2022
Volume
203
Pages
111877–111877
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.111877
PMID: 34390718
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Wastewater-based epidemiology has been used as a tool for surveillance of COVID-19 infections. This approach is dependent on the detection and quantification of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in untreated/raw wastewater. However, the quantification of the viral RNA could be influenced by the physico-chemical properties of the wastewater. This study presents the first use of Adaptive Neuro-Fuzzy Inference System (ANFIS) to determine the potential impact of physico-chemical characteristics of wastewater on the detection and concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater. Raw wastewater samples from four wastewater treatment plants were investigated over four months. The physico-chemical characteristics of the raw wastewater was recorded, and the SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentration determined via amplification with droplet digital polymerase chain reaction. The wastewater characteristics considered were chemical oxygen demand, flow rate, ammonia, pH, permanganate value, and total solids. The mean SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations ranged from 648.1(±514.6) copies/mL to 1441.0(±1977.8) copies/mL. Among the parameters assessed using the ANFIS model, ammonia and pH showed significant association with the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA measured. Increasing ammonia concentration was associated with increasing viral RNA concentration and pH between 7.1 and 7.4 were associated with the highest SARS-CoV-2 concentration. Other parameters, such as total solids, were also observed to influence the viral RNA concentration, however, this observation was not consistent across all the wastewater treatment plants. The results from this study indicate the importance of incorporating wastewater characteristic assessment into wastewater-based epidemiology for a robust and accurate COVID-19 surveillance. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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