Food and Environmental Virology

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 76–89 | Cite as

Effects of pH Variability on Peracetic Acid Reduction of Human Norovirus GI, GII RNA, and Infectivity Plus RNA Reduction of Selected Surrogates

  • Nathan Dunkin
  • Caroline Coulter
  • ShihChi Weng
  • Joseph G. Jacangelo
  • Kellogg J. SchwabEmail author
Original Paper


With increasing interest in peracetic acid (PAA) as a disinfectant in water treatment processes, this study determined PAA treatment effects on human noroviruses (hNoVs) genotype I (GI) and genotype II (GII) as well as effects on bacteriophage MS2 and murine norovirus (MNV) in relation to pH. Across all pH conditions, PAA achieved between 0.2 and 2.5 log10 reduction of hNoVs over 120 min contact time in buffer solution as measured by reverse transcription-qPCR (RT-qPCR). The PAA treatments produced similar RT-qPCR reductions of MS2 and MNV, in the range of 0.2–2.7 log10. Infectivity assays achieved > 4 log10 reduction of both MS2 and MNV in buffer solution after 120 min contact time. Comparing PAA activity across varying pH, disinfection at pH 8.5, in general, resulted in less reduction of infectivity and molecular signals compared to pH conditions of 6.5 and 7.5. This difference was most pronounced for reductions in infectivity of MNV and MS2, with as much as 2.7 log10 less reduction at pH 8.5 relative to lower pH conditions. This study revealed that PAA was an effective disinfectant for treatment of hNoV GI and GII, MS2 and MNV, with greatest virus reduction observed for MS2 and MNV infectivity. RT-qPCR reductions of MS2 and MNV were lower than concurrent MS2 and MNV infectivity reductions, suggesting that observed hNoV RT-qPCR reductions may underestimate reductions in hNoV infectivity achieved by PAA. Although virus disinfection by PAA occurred at all evaluated pH levels, PAA is most effective at pH 6.5–7.5.


Peracetic acid pH Human norovirus MS2 bacteriophage Mouse norovirus Disinfection 



This work was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (Award ID# DGE-1232825), the JHU/Stantec Alliance, the Johns Hopkins Water Institute (Award ID GW-0010), and the Osprey Foundation (Award ID OFM-0014) of Maryland. We thank Dr. Charles Haas for insightful discussions regarding modeling of hNoV and viral surrogates and PeroxyChem Inc. for providing PAA.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

12560_2018_9359_MOESM1_ESM.docx (40 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 39 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nathan Dunkin
    • 1
  • Caroline Coulter
    • 1
  • ShihChi Weng
    • 2
  • Joseph G. Jacangelo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kellogg J. Schwab
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, Bloomberg School of Public HealthJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.JHU/Stantec AllianceJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.MWH-StantecPasadenaUSA

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