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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Inactivation of adenovirus, reovirus and bacteriophages in fecal sludge by pH and ammonia

Magri, Maria Elisa; Fidjeland, Jörgen; Jönsson, Håkan; Albihn, Ann; Vinnerås, Björn


The aim of this study was to evaluate the inactivation of adenovirus, reovirus and bacteriophages (MS2, Phi X174, 28B) in a fecal sludge. We conducted two experiments. In the first, we tested different compositions of the fecal sludge by mixing different amounts of water, feces and urine, totaling nine combinations which were kept at temperatures between 10 and 28 degrees C. In the second study, urea was added to the mixtures, which were kept at temperatures from 5 to 33 degrees C. The inactivation was based on a combination of temperature, pH and uncharged ammonia concentration. The increase in pH and ammonia was provided mainly by urine content (Experiment 1) and by urine and added urea (Experiment 2). The inactivation of bacteriophages was slower than the AdV and ReV. At 23 degrees C and 28 degrees, reasonable treatment times were obtained when pH was higher than 8.9 and NH3 concentrations were higher than 35 and 55 mM respectively. With those conditions, the maximum time for a 3 log reduction in viruses, according to this study, would be 35 days (23 degrees C) and 21 days (28 degrees C). However, in most applications where helminth eggs are present, the treatment time and NH3 for sanitization will be the scaling criteria, as they are more persistent. Concerning the sanitization of effluents from latrines, vacuum toilets or dry toilets in developing countries with tropical and sub-tropical climates, the use of intrinsic ammonia combined with high pH can be effective in producing a safe and highly valuable liquid that can be used as a fertilizer. In the case of the fecal sludge with very intrinsic ammonia concentration (< 20 mM), sanitization could still be achieved by the addition of urea. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Sanitation; Fecal sludge; Toilet water; pH; Ammonia; Virus; Bacteriophages

Published in

Science of the Total Environment
2015, Volume: 520, pages: 213-221