Evaluation of the Impact of Concentration and Extraction Methods on the Targeted Sequencing of Human Viruses from Wastewater

Minxi Jiang, Audrey L.W. Wang, Nicholas A. Be, Nisha Mulakken, Kara L. Nelson, Rose S. Kantor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Sequencing human viruses in wastewater is challenging due to their low abundance compared to the total microbial background. This study compared the impact of four virus concentration/extraction methods (Innovaprep, Nanotrap, Promega, and Solids extraction) on probe-capture enrichment for human viruses followed by sequencing. Different concentration/extraction methods yielded distinct virus profiles. Innovaprep ultrafiltration (following solids removal) had the highest sequencing sensitivity and richness, resulting in the successful assembly of several near-complete human virus genomes. However, it was less sensitive in detecting SARS-CoV-2 by digital polymerase chain reaction (dPCR) compared to Promega and Nanotrap. Across all preparation methods, astroviruses and polyomaviruses were the most highly abundant human viruses, and SARS-CoV-2 was rare. These findings suggest that sequencing success can be increased using methods that reduce nontarget nucleic acids in the extract, though the absolute concentration of total extracted nucleic acid, as indicated by Qubit, and targeted viruses, as indicated by dPCR, may not be directly related to targeted sequencing performance. Further, using broadly targeted sequencing panels may capture viral diversity but risks losing signals for specific low-abundance viruses. Overall, this study highlights the importance of aligning wet lab and bioinformatic methods with specific goals when employing probe-capture enrichment for human virus sequencing from wastewater.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8239-8250
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number19
StatePublished - 14 May 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • human virus
  • nucleic acid extraction
  • probe-capture enrichment
  • targeted sequencing
  • virus concentration
  • wastewater-based epidemiology
  • wastewater-based surveillance


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