Confined aquifers as viral reservoirs

Renee J. Smith, Thomas C. Jeffries, Ben Roudnew, Justin R. Seymour, Alison J. Fitch, Keryn L. Simons, Peter G. Speck, Kelly Newton, Melissa H. Brown, James G. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Knowledge about viral diversity and abundance in deep groundwater reserves is limited. We found that the viral community inhabiting a deep confined aquifer in South Australia was more similar to reclaimed water communities than to the viral communities in the overlying unconfined aquifer community. This similarity was driven by high relative occurrence of the single-stranded DNA viral groups Circoviridae, Geminiviridae and Microviridae, which include many known plant and animal pathogens. These groups were present in a 1500-year-old water situated 80m below the surface, which suggests the potential for long-term survival and spread of potentially pathogenic viruses in deep, confined groundwater. Obtaining a broader understanding of potentially pathogenic viral communities within aquifers is particularly important given the ability of viruses to spread within groundwater ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725-730
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology Reports
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

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