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Water 2017, 9(7), 534; doi:10.3390/w9070534

Membrane Bioreactor-Based Wastewater Treatment Plant in Saudi Arabia: Reduction of Viral Diversity, Load, and Infectious Capacity

Biological and Environmental Science & Engineering Division (BESE), Water Desalination and Reuse Center (WDRC), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia
CosmosID, Inc., Rockville, MD 20850, USA
Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, University of Maryland Institute of Advanced Computer Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Bloomberg School of Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 June 2017 / Revised: 2 July 2017 / Accepted: 8 July 2017 / Published: 17 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Supply through Desalination and Wastewater Reuse)
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A membrane bioreactor (MBR)-based wastewater treatment plant in Saudi Arabia was assessed over a nine-month period for virus removal efficiency. Viral diversity was detected using omics-based approaches. Log reduction values (LRV) of Adenoviruses (AdV) and Enteroviruses (EV) were enumerated using digital polymerase chain reaction (dPCR) and assessed for infectivity using fluorescence-based infection assays. MBR treatment was successful in reducing viral diversity. Plant viruses remained abundant in the treated effluent. Human enteric viruses were present in lower abundance than plant viruses, and were reduced by MBR at varying LRV. AdV copy numbers were reduced by 3.7-log. Infectious AdV was not detected in the effluent. EV copy numbers were reduced by 1.7-log post MBR and infectious EV decreased by an average of 2.0-log. Infectious EV was detected in the chlorinated effluent, occasionally in concentrations that approximate to its 50% infectious dose. Overall, results indicated that a MBR-based wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effectively reduces viral diversity, viral load, and infectious capacity by up to 4-logs. These findings suggest potential concerns associated with plant and human enteric viruses for reuse events in this country. Local guidelines for assessment of treated water quality should take into consideration both infectious viral concentration and LRV. View Full-Text
Keywords: log removal values; enteroviruses; adenoviruses; diagnostic immunofluorescence; water reuse log removal values; enteroviruses; adenoviruses; diagnostic immunofluorescence; water reuse

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Jumat, M.R.; Hasan, N.A.; Subramanian, P.; Heberling, C.; Colwell, R.R.; Hong, P.-Y. Membrane Bioreactor-Based Wastewater Treatment Plant in Saudi Arabia: Reduction of Viral Diversity, Load, and Infectious Capacity. Water 2017, 9, 534.

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