The adsorption of radiolabeled infectious poliovirus type 2 by 34 well-defined soils and mineral substrates was analyzed in a synthetic freshwater medium containing 1 mM CaCl(2) and 1.25 mM NaHCO(3) at pH 7. In a model system, adsorption of poliovirus by Ottawa sand was rapid and reached equilibrium within 1 h at 4 degrees C. Near saturation, the adsorption could be described by the Langmuir equation; the apparent surface saturation was 2.5 x 10(6) plaque-forming units of poliovirus per mg of Ottawa sand. At low surface coverage, adsorption was described by the Freundlich equation. The soils and minerals used ranged from acidic to basic and from high in organic content to organic free. The available negative surface charge on each substrate was measured by the adsorption of a cationic polyelectrolyte, polydiallyldimethylammonium chloride. Most of the substrates adsorbed more than 95% of the virus. In general, soils, in comparison with minerals, were weak adsorbents. Among the soils, muck and Genesee silt loam were the poorest adsorbents; among the minerals, montmorillonite, glauconite, and bituminous shale were the least effective. The most effective adsorbents were magnetite sand and hematite, which are predominantly oxides of iron. Correlation coefficients for substrate properties and virus adsorption revealed that the elemental composition of the adsorbents had little effect on poliovirus uptake. Substrate surface area and pH, by themselves, were not significantly correlated with poliovirus uptake. A strong negative correlation was found between poliovirus adsorption and both the contents of organic matter and the available negative surface charge on the substrates as determined by their capacities for adsorbing the cationic polyelectrolyte, polydiallyldimethylammonium chloride.
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