Rotavirus, the leading cause of diarrheal diseases in children under the age of five, is often resistant to conventional wastewater treatment and thus can remain infectious once released into the aquatic environment. Solar and heat treatments can inactivate rotavirus, but it is unknown how these treatments inactivate the virus on a molecular level. To answer this question, our approach was to correlate rotavirus inactivation with the inhibition of portions of the virus life cycle as a means to identify the mechanisms of solar or heat inactivation. Specifically, the integrity of the rotavirus NSP3 gene, virus-host cell interaction, and viral RNA synthesis were examined after heat (57°C) or solar treatment of rotavirus. Only the inhibition of viral RNA synthesis positively correlated with a loss of rotavirus infectivity; 57°C treatment of rotavirus resulted in a decrease of rotavirus RNA synthesisat the same rate as rotavirus infectivity. These data suggest that heat treatment neutralized rotaviruses primarily by targeting viral transcription functions. In contrast, when using solar disinfection, the decrease in RNA synthesis was responsible for approximately one-half of the decrease in infectivity, suggesting that other mechanisms, including posttranslational, contribute to inactivation. Nevertheless, both solar and heat inactivation of rotaviruses disrupted viral RNA synthesis as a mechanism for inactivation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology