Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 30, pp 30044–30055 | Cite as

Use of coliphages to investigate norovirus contamination in a shellfish growing area in Republic of Korea

  • Kyuseon Cho
  • Cheonghoon Lee
  • SungJun Park
  • Jin Hwi Kim
  • Yong Seon Choi
  • Man Su Kim
  • Eung Seo Koo
  • Hyun Jin Yoon
  • Joo-Hyon Kang
  • Yong Seok Jeong
  • Jong Duck Choi
  • GwangPyo KoEmail author
Research Article


A number of severe norovirus outbreaks due to the consumption of contaminated shellfish have been reported recently. In this study, we evaluated the distribution of coliphage densities to determine their efficacy as fecal indicators of enteric viruses, including noroviruses, in water samples collected from a shellfish growing area in Republic of Korea over a period of approximately 1 year. Male-specific and somatic coliphages in water samples were analyzed using the single agar layer method, and norovirus genogroups I and II, which infect mainly humans, were analyzed using duplex reverse transcription quantitative PCR. Male-specific and somatic coliphages were detected widely throughout the study area. Several environmental parameters, including salinity, precipitation, temperature, and wind speed were significantly correlated with coliphage concentrations (P < 0.05). Moreover, the concentrations of male-specific coliphages were positively correlated with the presence of human noroviruses (r = 0.443; P < 0.01). The geospatial analysis with coliphage concentrations using a geographic information system revealed that densely populated residential areas were the major source of fecal contamination. Our results indicate that coliphage monitoring in water could be a useful approach to prevent norovirus contamination in shellfish.


Geographic information system Male-specific coliphages Microbial source tracking Norovirus Shellfish Somatic coliphages 


Funding information

This research was supported by a grant (14162MFDS973) from Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in 2016.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_2857_MOESM1_ESM.docx (802 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 802 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kyuseon Cho
    • 1
  • Cheonghoon Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  • SungJun Park
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jin Hwi Kim
    • 4
  • Yong Seon Choi
    • 5
  • Man Su Kim
    • 5
  • Eung Seo Koo
    • 5
  • Hyun Jin Yoon
    • 6
  • Joo-Hyon Kang
    • 4
  • Yong Seok Jeong
    • 5
  • Jong Duck Choi
    • 6
  • GwangPyo Ko
    • 1
    • 3
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Graduate School of Public HealthSeoul National UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Institute of Health and EnvironmentSeoul National UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.N-BioSeoul National UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringDongguk UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  5. 5.Department of Biology, College of SciencesKyung Hee UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  6. 6.Department of Seafood Science and TechnologyGyeongsang National UniversityTongyeong-siRepublic of Korea
  7. 7.Center for Human and Environmental MicrobiomeSeoul National UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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