The effect of critical pH on virus fate and transport in saturated porous medium. Academic Article uri icon


  • Several viral transport experiments were conducted in a model aquifer 1 m long, using bacteriophages MS2 and phiX174 at various pH (4.6 to 8.3) conditions, to increase our understanding of virus behavior in ground water. The results indicate the existence of a critical pH at which the virus behavior changes abruptly. This is supported by data from field and batch experiments. The critical pH is determined to be 0.5 unit below the highest isoelectric point of the virus and porous medium. When water pH is below the critical pH, the virus has an opposite charge to at least one component of the porous medium, and is almost completely and irreversibly removed from the water. This suggests that electrostatic attraction at a subcritical water pH condition is an important factor controlling virus attenuation in ground water. The concept of critical pH can assist in the design of geologic barriers for preventing viral contamination in ground water.

published proceedings

  • Ground Water

author list (cited authors)

  • Guan, H., Schulze-Makuch, D., Schaffer, S., & Pillai, S. D.

citation count

  • 31

complete list of authors

  • Guan, Huade||Schulze-Makuch, Dirk||Schaffer, Steve||Pillai, Suresh D

publication date

  • September 2003