Metagenomics – Summer 2017 intensive sampling campaign

By Dr Kata Farkas, Bangor University and Dr Evelien Adriaenssens, University of Liverpool

The use of metaviromics-based methods allows us the identification of novel virus species and pathogenic strains without any information on the target. In this novel approach, genetic information of all viruses in a community is extracted and investigated with next-generation sequencing. In our pilot dataset, we have found a novel norovirus strain, diverse rotaviruses and picobirnaviruses and fragments of other human enteric viruses (astrovirus, hepatovirus) in wastewater samples derived from the Llanrwst wastewater treatment plant (Conwy, North Wales). These preliminary results further verified the usefulness of metaviromics in environmental and public health studies. In June a comprehensive sampling was carried out in the Conwy area during which large quantities of sediment (200g), shellfish (10 kg), wastewater (1L) and surface water (200L/site) were collected. The methods developed during the Viraqua project allowed the 10-10000-times concentration of the samples depending on sample type. These concentrates will then be subjected to metaviromic analysis to identify known or novel pathogenic viruses and to track their presence and diversity in the Conwy river basin.