The basis of peracetic acid inactivation mechanisms for rotavirus and tulane virus under conditions relevant for vegetable sanitation

Miyu Fuzawa, Hezi Bai, Joanna L. Shisler, Thanh H. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We determined the disinfection efficacy and inactivation mechanisms of peracetic acid (PAA)-based sanitizer using pH values relevant for vegetable sanitation against rotavirus (RV) and Tulane virus (TV; a human norovirus surrogate). TV was significantly more resistant to PAA disinfection than RV: for a 2-log10 reduction of virus titer, RV required 1 mg/liter PAA for 3.5 min of exposure, while TV required 10 mg/liter PAA for 30 min. The higher resistance of TV can be explained, in part, by significantly more aggregation of TV in PAA solutions. The PAA mechanisms of virus inactivation were explored by quantifying (i) viral genome integrity and replication using reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) and (ii) virus-host receptor interactions using a cell-free binding assay with porcine gastric mucin conjugated with magnetic beads (PGM-MBs). We observed that PAA induced damage to both RV and TV genomes and also decreased virus-receptor interactions, with the latter suggesting that PAA damages viral proteins important for binding its host cell receptors. Importantly, the levels of genome-versus-protein damage induced by PAA were different for each virus. PAA inactivation correlated with higher levels of RV genome damage than of RV-receptor interactions. For PAA-treated TV, the opposite trends were observed. Thus, PAA inactivates each of these viruses via different molecular mechanisms. The findings presented here potentially contribute to the design of a robust sanitation strategy for RV and TV using PAA to prevent foodborne disease. IMPORTANCE In this study, we examined the inactivation mechanisms of peracetic acid (PAA), a sanitizer commonly used for postharvest vegetable washing, for two enteric viruses: Tulane virus (TV) as a human norovirus surrogate and rotavirus (RV). PAA disinfection mechanisms for RV were mainly due to genome damage. In contrast, PAA disinfection in TV was due to damage of the proteins important for binding to its host receptor. We also observed that PAA triggered aggregation of TV to a much greater extent than RV. These studies demonstrate that different viruses are inactivated via different PAA mechanisms. This information is important for designing an optimal sanitation practice for postharvest vegetable washing to minimize foodborne viral diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01095-20
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Disinfectants
  • Noroviruses
  • RNA virus
  • Rotavirus
  • Sanitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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