Where humans go, pepper virus follows | Science News

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Where humans go, pepper virus follows

Plant pathogen could help track waters polluted with human waste

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5:14pm, November 20, 2009

A plant virus might edge out the better-known E. coli bacterium as a signpost for waters polluted by human waste. The pepper mild mottle virus is widespread in raw sewage, treated wastewater and seawater exposed to wastewater, reports a new study in the November Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Sampling for the pepper virus could be a new means of tracking human pollution that can spread to coral reefs and other sensitive ecosystems, says study coauthor Mya Breitbart of the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg. And if the virus can be correlated with disease risk, it may allow a faster determination

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