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      Influence of physico-chemical characteristics of sediment on the in situ spatial distribution of F-specific RNA phages in the riverbed

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          Riverbed sediment is commonly described as an enteric virus reservoir and thought to play an important role in water column contamination, especially during rainfall events. Although the occurrence and fate of faecal-derived viruses are fairly well characterized in water, little information is available on their presence as their interactions with sediment. This study aimed at determining the main environmental factors responsible for the presence of enteric viruses in riverbed sediment. Using a combination of microbiological and physico-chemical analyses of freshly field-sampled sediments, we demonstrated their contamination by faecal phages. The in situ spatial distribution of phages in sediment was mainly driven by sediment composition. A preferential phage accumulation occurred along one bank of the river, where the quantity of fine sands and clay particles smaller than 0.2 mm was the highest. Additionally, a mineralogical analysis revealed the influence of the heterogeneous presence of virus sorbents such as quartz, calcite, carbonates and iron-bearing phases (goethite) on the phage spatial pattern. A more precise knowledge of the composition of riverbed sediment is therefore useful for predicting preferential areas of enteric virus accumulation and should allow more accurate microbial risk assessment when using surface water for drinking water production or recreational activities.


          The heterogeneous presence of fine sands, clays and iron-bearing phases has an influence on the in situ spatial distribution of faecal phages in riverbed sediment.

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          Most cited references 74

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              Determination of virus abundance in marine sediments.

              In this study, we optimized procedures to enumerate viruses from marine sediments by epifluorescence microscopy using SYBR Green I as a stain. The highest virus yields from the bulk of the sediments were obtained by utilizing pyrophosphate and 3 min of sonication. The efficiency of extraction benthic viruses by pyrophosphate-ultrasound treatment was about 60% of the extractable virus particles. Samples treated with nucleases had increased virus counts, suggesting a masking effect of extracellular DNA. No significant differences were observed between virus counts obtained by epifluorescence microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Both formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde gave significant reductions of virus counts after only 24 h of sediment storage, but no further loss occurred after 7 days.

                Author and article information

                [1 ]Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), Department of Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN), 5 Avenue des Hauts-Fourneaux, 4362 Esch-sur-Alzette, LUXEMBOURG
                [2 ]Université de Lorraine, Laboratoire de Chimie, Physique et Microbiologie pour les Matériaux et l'Environnement (LCPME), UMR 7564, Faculté de Pharmacie, 5 Rue Albert Lebrun BP 80403 54001 Nancy, FRANCE
                [3 ]CNRS, LCPME, UMR 7564, Nancy F-54000, France
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), 41 rue du Brill L-4422 Belvaux, Luxembourg. Tel: +352 275 888 438; Fax: +352 275 885; E-mail: leslie.ogorzaly@
                FEMS Microbiol Ecol
                FEMS Microbiol. Ecol
                FEMS Microbiology Ecology
                Oxford University Press
                14 January 2019
                February 2019
                14 January 2019
                : 95
                : 2
                © FEMS 2018.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs licence (, which permits non-commercial reproduction and distribution of the work, in any medium, provided the original work is not altered or transformed in any way, and that the work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@

                Pages: 11
                Funded by: National Research Fund 10.13039/501100001866
                Award ID: 6035344
                Research Article


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