Biophysical properties of salmonid alphaviruses: influence of temperature and pH on virus survival

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  • D. A. Graham
    Agri-food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland (AFBINI)
  • C Staples
    Queen's University, Belfast
  • C J Wilson
    Queen's University, Belfast
  • H Jewhurst
    Queen's University, Belfast
  • K Cherry
    Queen's University, Belfast
  • A Gordon
    Agri-food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland (AFBINI)
  • H M Rowley
    Agri-food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland (AFBINI)

A series of laboratory studies were undertaken to investigate the survival of salmonid alphaviruses (SAV) under a range of conditions relevant to waste disposal, persistence and spread in the field, and to laboratory studies and testing. SAV was found to be rapidly inactivated in the presence of high levels of organic matter at 60 degrees C at pH 7.2 and at pH 4 and pH 12 at 4 degrees C, suggesting that composting, ensiling and alkaline hydrolysis would all be effective at inactivating virus in fish waste. Testing was conducted under sterile conditions at 4, 10, 15 and 20 degrees C in sea water, half-strength sea water and fresh (hard) water, both in the absence and the presence of added organic matter. Virus survival was shown to be inversely related to temperature, and to be reduced by the presence of organic matter. Calculated half lives (t(1/2)) under these conditions ranged from 61.0 to 1.5 days. Testing in non-sterile sea water resulted in reduced t(1/2) values. The half life of SAV in serum was also found to be inversely related to temperature, emphasizing the need for rapid shipment of samples at 4 degrees C to laboratories for virus isolation studies.


  • Alphavirus, Animals, Fresh Water, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Salmonidae, Seawater, Temperature, Virus Inactivation, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-43
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Fish Biology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes
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