Viral surrogates are widely used by researchers to predict human norovirus behavior. Murine norovirus (MNV) is currently accepted as the best surrogate and is assumed to mimic the survival and inactivation of human noroviruses. Recently, a new calicivirus, the Tulane virus (TV), was discovered, and its potential as a human norovirus surrogate is being explored. This study aimed to compare the behavior of the two potential surrogates under varying treatments of pH (2.0 to 10.0), chlorine (0.2 to 2,000 ppm), heat (50 to 75°C), and survival in tap water at room (20°C) and refrigeration (4°C) temperatures for up to 30 days. Viral infectivity was determined by the plaque assay for both MNV and TV. There was no significant difference between the inactivation of MNV and TV in all heat treatments, and for both MNV and TV survival in tap water at 20°C over 30 days. At 4°C, MNV remained infectious over 30 days at a titer of approximately 5 log PFU/ml, whereas TV titers decreased significantly by 5 days. MNV was more pH stable, as TV titers were reduced significantly at pH 2.0, 9.0, and 10.0, as compared with pH 7.0, whereas MNV titers were only significantly reduced at pH 10.0. After chlorine treatment, there was no significant difference in virus with the exception of at 2 ppm, where TV decreased significantly compared with MNV. Compared with TV, MNV is likely a better surrogate for human noroviruses, as MNV persisted over a wider range of pH values, at 2 ppm of chlorine, and without a loss of titer at 4°C.

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