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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Unraveling the Factors Affecting Virus Adhesion to Food Contact Materials and Virus-Virus Interaction: A Nanoscopic Study
by Guo, Ao, Ph.D., Illinois Institute of Technology, 2020, 157; 28256422
Abstract (Summary)

Food safety is a worldwide issue nowadays since pathogens cause diseases, even death. Human enteric viruses are a major cause of non-bacterial foodborne gastroenteritis. In the United States, they are the most life-threatening pathogenic agents for the foodborne illnesses. The fecal-oral route is responsible for the attachment and transmission of such foodborne pathogens, which lead to contamination of food-contact materials (FCMs) during food preparation, enhancing the risk of transmission. The interaction between viruses and contact surface is the source of virus adhesion.

Due to lack of knowledge on virus adhesion to various FCMs, this thesis aims to reveal the key factors that mediate the virus-FCM and virus-virus interactions in order to effectively prevent virus infection or spread. The objectives are (1) to identify the physical and chemical features of a material surface that affect virus adhesion to determine an optimal FCM, (2) to reduce virus adhesion via nanofabrication of a material’s surface; (3) to investigate the effect of thermal inactivation (heat treatment) on virus-virus interaction toward the establishment of a non-culture-based infectivity assay for laboratory assessment of the effectiveness of disinfection methods.

In this study, virus adhesion on various FCMs, including glass, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene (PE) and graphite which have been widely used in food storages, food packages and utensil handling during food preparations, was investigated. Male-specific coliphage (MS2) was used as a virus surrogate of the highly infectious human enteric virus with similar physiochemical properties. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was predominantly used in quantitative analyses of the strength of MS2 adhesion to various food-contact surfaces. Dynamic light scattering (DLS) was applied in MS2 dimensional analysis in aqueous suspension. Moreover, surface modification, such as nanofabrication, was employed to create controllable surface textures to reduce virus adhesion on FCM. Thermal inactivation was employed as a disinfection method. A comparative study was carried out to differentiate the active and inactivated MS2 in the virus-FCM and the virus-virus interactions.

The results of this examination indicate that a material’s surface property, such as topography, hydrophobicity and surface charge, contributed to virus adhesion in aqueous phase at neutral pH (= 7.4). Each surface feature played a distinctive role; however, the combined effect as well as the chemical signature of a virion’s surface determined the virus-FCM interaction. A delicate control of a surface’s chemical affinity and physical feature is expected to effectively reduce/interfere virus adhesion.

It was also discovered that thermally inactivated MS2 particles became larger, softer, and more hydrophobic. These properties can be utilized in developing a non-culture-based assay to assess the effectiveness of disinfection methods for human enteric viruses, which can hardly be cultured in laboratory.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wang, Rong
Commitee: Guan, Xiyuan, Khan, Ishaque, Hong, Seok Hoon
School: Illinois Institute of Technology
Department: Chemistry
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-B 82/7(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Chemistry, Virology
Keywords: Atomic force microscopy, Food contact material, Foodborne virus, Nanofabrication, Non-cultured-based method, Virus adhesion
Publication Number: 28256422
ISBN: 9798557050739
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