ABSTRACT

Noroviruses encounter numerous and diverse bacterial populations in the host and environment, but the impact of bacteria on norovirus transmission, infection, detection, and inactivation are not well understood. Tulane virus (TV), a human norovirus surrogate, was exposed to viable bacteria, bacterial metabolic products, and bacterial cell constituents and was evaluated for impact on viral recovery, propagation, and inactivation resistance, respectively. TV was incubated with common soil, intestinal, skin, and phyllosphere bacteria, and unbound viruses were recovered by centrifugation and filtration. TV recovery from various bacterial suspensions was not impeded, which suggests a lack of direct, stable binding between viruses and bacteria. The cell-free supernatant (CFS) of Bifidobacterium bifidum 35914, a bacterium that produces glycan-modifying enzymes, was evaluated for effect on the propagation of TV in LLC-MK2 cells. CFS did not limit TV propagation relative to TV absent of CFS. The impact of Escherichia coli O111:B4 lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and Bacillus subtilis peptidoglycan (PEP) on TV thermal and chlorine inactivation resistance was evaluated. PEP increased TV thermal and chlorine inactivation resistance compared with control TV in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). TV suspended in PBS and LPS was reduced by more than 3.7 log at 60°C, whereas in PEP, TV reduction was approximately 2 log. Chlorine treatment (200 ppm) rendered TV undetectable (>3-log reduction) in PBS and LPS; however, TV was still detected in PEP, reduced by 2.9 log. Virus inactivation studies and food processing practices should account for potential impact of bacteria on viral resistance.

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