Aims: To determine the seasonal occurrence and diversity of norovirus (NoV) and human adenovirus (HAdV) in groundwater from sinkholes, and brackish water used for recreational activities in the karst aquifer of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Methods and results: Hollow fibre ultrafiltration was used to concentrate viruses and standard plaque assay methods were used to enumerate somatic and F+ specific coliphages as viral indicators. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction assays were used to estimate the number of genome copies for NoV strains GI, and GII, and HAdVs. The predominant NoV genotypes and HAdV serotypes were identified by comparative sequence analysis. Somatic and male F+ specific coliphages were detected at concentrations up to 94 and 60 plaque-forming units per 100 ml respectively. The NoV genogroup I (GI) was associated with 50% of the sampled sites during the rainy season only, at concentrations ranging from 120 to 1600 genome copies per litre (GC l−1). The NoV genogroup II (GII) was detected in 30 and 40% of the sampled sites during the rainy and dry seasons, respectively, at concentrations ranging from 10 to 290 GC l−1. During the rainy and dry seasons, HAdVs were detected in 20% of the sites, at concentrations ranging from 24 to 690 GC l−1. Identification of viral types revealed the presence of NoV GI.2, GII.Pe, GII.P16 and GII.P17, and HAdV F serotypes 40 and 41. Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that NoVs and HAdVs are prevalent as virus contaminants in the karst aquifer, representing potential health risks particularly during the rainy season, in one of the most important areas used for tourism in Mexico. Significance and Impact of the Study: This is one of the few studies conducted in karst aquifers that provide a foundational baseline of the distribution, concentrations and diversity of NoVs and HadVs in these particular environments.
- environmental/recreational water
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology