A model to predict the kinetics of direct (endogenous) virus inactivation by sunlight at different latitudes and seasons, based on the equivalent monochromatic wavelength approach
Sunlight plays an important role in the inactivation of pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses in water. Here we present a model that is able to predict the kinetics of direct virus inactivation (i.e. inactivation triggered by sunlight absorption by the virion, without the role played by photochemically produced reactive intermediates generated by water-dissolved photosensitizers) on a global scale (from 60 °S to 60 °N latitude) and for the different months of the year. The model is based on the equivalent monochromatic wavelength (EMW) approach that was introduced recently, and which largely simplifies complex polychromatic calculations by approximating them with a monochromatic equation at the proper wavelength, the EMW. The EMW equation was initially established for mid-July conditions at a mid-latitude, and was then extended to different seasons and to the latitude belt where the day-night cycle is always observed throughout the year. By so doing, the first-order rate constant of direct virus photoinactivation can be predicted on a global scale, with the use of a relatively simple equation plus tables of pre-calculated input data, as a function of latitude, month, and key water parameters. The model was here applied to the virus organism phiX174, a somatic phage that is often used as proxy for pathogenic viruses undergoing fast direct inactivation, and for which a wide array of published inactivation data is available. Model predictions are validated by comparison with field data of inactivation of somatic phages by sunlight.
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