We investigated the direct and indirect effects of mono-, di-, and trivalent salts (NaCl, MgCl2, and AlCl3) on the adsorption of several viruses (MS2, PRD-1, φX174, and poliovirus 1) to microporous filters at different pH values. The filters studied included Millipore HA (nitrocellulose), Filterite (fiberglass), Whatman (cellulose), and 1MDS (charged-modified fiber) filters. Each of these filters except the Whatman cellulose filters has been used in virus removal and recovery procedures. The direct effects of added salts were considered to be the effects associated with the presence of the soluble salts. The indirect effects of the added salts were considered to be (i) changes in the pH values of solutions and (ii) the formation of insoluble precipitates that could adsorb viruses and be removed by filtration. When direct effects alone were considered, the salts used in this study promoted virus adsorption, interfered with virus adsorption, or had little or no effect on virus adsorption, depending on the filter, the virus, and the salt. Although we were able to confirm previous reports that the addition of aluminum chloride to water enhances virus adsorption to microporous filters, we found that the enhanced adsorption was associated with indirect effects rather than direct effects. The increase in viral adsorption observed when aluminum chloride was added to water was related to the decrease in the pH of the water. Similar results could be obtained by adding HCl. The increased adsorption of viruses in water at pH 7 following addition of aluminum chloride was probably due to flocculation of aluminum, since removal of flocs by filtration greatly reduced the enhancement observed. The only direct effect of aluminum chloride on virus adsorption that we observed was interference with adsorption to microporous filters. Under conditions under which hydrophobic interactions were minimal, aluminum chloride interfered with virus adsorption to Millipore, Filterite, and 1MDS filters. In most cases, less than 10% of the viruses adsorbed to filters in the presence of a multivalent salt and a compound that interfered with hydrophobic interactions (0.1% Tween 80 or 4 M urea)
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