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Article

Coprostanol as a Population Biomarker for SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Surveillance Studies

1
UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, UCD Earth Institute and UCD Conway Institute, University College Dublin, D04 V1W8 Dublin, Ireland
2
Irish Water, Colvill House, 24–26 Talbot Street, D01 NP86 Dublin, Ireland
3
UCD School of Veterinary Medicine, UCD Conway Institute, University College Dublin, D04 V1W8 Dublin, Ireland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Helvi Heinonen-Tanski
Water 2022, 14(2), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020225
Received: 6 December 2021 / Revised: 7 January 2022 / Accepted: 10 January 2022 / Published: 13 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Waterborne Pathogens—Threats to Water Quality)
Wastewater surveillance is a cost-effective tool for monitoring SARS-CoV-2 transmission in a community. However, challenges remain with regard to interpretating such studies, not least in how to compare SARS-CoV-2 levels between different-sized wastewater treatment plants. Viral faecal indicators, including crAssphage and pepper mild mottle virus, have been proposed as population biomarkers to normalise SARS-CoV-2 levels in wastewater. However, as these indicators exhibit variability between individuals and may not be excreted by everyone, their utility as population biomarkers may be limited. Coprostanol, meanwhile, is a bacterial metabolite of cholesterol which is excreted by all individuals. In this study, composite influent samples were collected from a large- and medium-sized wastewater treatment plant in Dublin, Ireland and SARS-CoV-2 N1, crAssphage, pepper mild mottle virus, HF183 and coprostanol levels were determined. SARS-CoV-2 N1 RNA was detected and quantified in all samples from both treatment plants. Regardless of treatment plant size, coprostanol levels exhibited the lowest variation in composite influent samples, while crAssphage exhibited the greatest variation. Moreover, the strongest correlations were observed between SARS-CoV-2 levels and national and Dublin COVID-19 cases when levels were normalised to coprostanol. This work demonstrates the usefulness of coprostanol as a population biomarker for wastewater surveillance studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; coprostanol; PMMoV; crAssphage; wastewater surveillance; population biomarker SARS-CoV-2; coprostanol; PMMoV; crAssphage; wastewater surveillance; population biomarker
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MDPI and ACS Style

Reynolds, L.J.; Sala-Comorera, L.; Khan, M.F.; Martin, N.A.; Whitty, M.; Stephens, J.H.; Nolan, T.M.; Joyce, E.; Fletcher, N.F.; Murphy, C.D.; Meijer, W.G. Coprostanol as a Population Biomarker for SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Surveillance Studies. Water 2022, 14, 225. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020225

AMA Style

Reynolds LJ, Sala-Comorera L, Khan MF, Martin NA, Whitty M, Stephens JH, Nolan TM, Joyce E, Fletcher NF, Murphy CD, Meijer WG. Coprostanol as a Population Biomarker for SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Surveillance Studies. Water. 2022; 14(2):225. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020225

Chicago/Turabian Style

Reynolds, Liam J., Laura Sala-Comorera, Mohd F. Khan, Niamh A. Martin, Megan Whitty, Jayne H. Stephens, Tristan M. Nolan, Eadaoin Joyce, Nicola F. Fletcher, Cormac D. Murphy, and Wim G. Meijer. 2022. "Coprostanol as a Population Biomarker for SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Surveillance Studies" Water 14, no. 2: 225. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020225

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