Applied and environmental microbiology

Feline Calicivirus, Murine Norovirus, Porcine Sapovirus, and Tulane Virus Survival on Postharvest Lettuce.

PMID 26002891


Human norovirus (HuNoV) is the leading cause of foodborne illnesses, with an increasing number of outbreaks associated with leafy greens. Because HuNoV cannot be routinely cultured, culturable feline calicivirus (FCV), murine norovirus (MNV), porcine sapovirus (SaV), and Tulane virus (TV) have been used as surrogates. These viruses are generated in different cell lines as infected cell lysates, which may differentially affect their stability. Our objective was to uniformly compare the survival of these viruses on postharvest lettuce while evaluating the effects of cell lysates on their survival. Viruses were semipurified from cell lysates by ultrafiltration or ultracentrifugation followed by resuspension in sterile water. Virus survival was examined before and after semipurification: in suspension at room temperature (RT) until day 28 and on lettuce leaves stored at RT for 3 days or at 4°C for 7 and 14 days. In suspension, both methods significantly enhanced the survival of all viruses. On lettuce, the survival of MNV in cell lysates was similar to that in water, under all storage conditions. In contrast, the survival of FCV, SaV, and TV was differentially enhanced, under different storage conditions, by removing cell lysates. Following semipurification, viruses showed similar persistence to each other on lettuce stored under all conditions, with the exception of ultracentrifugation-purified FCV, which showed a higher inactivation rate than MNV at 4°C for 14 days. In conclusion, the presence of cell lysates in viral suspensions underestimated the survivability of these surrogate viruses, while viral semipurification revealed similar survivabilities on postharvest lettuce leaves.