Quantitative detection of viable helminth ova from raw wastewater, human feces, and environmental soil samples using novel PMA-qPCR methods

P. Gyawali*, W. Ahmed, J. P.S. Sidhu, S. V. Nery, A. C. Clements, R. Traub, J. S. McCarthy, S. Llewellyn, P. Jagals, S. Toze

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we have evaluated the efficacy of propidium monoazide quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PMA-qPCR) to differentiate between viable and non-viable Ancylostoma caninum ova. The newly developed method was validated using raw wastewater seeded with known numbers of A. caninum ova. Results of this study confirmed that PMA-qPCR has resulted in average of 88 % reduction (P < 0.05) in gene copy numbers for 50 % viable +50 % non-viable when compared with 100 % viable ova. A reduction of 100 % in gene copies was observed for 100 % non-viable ova when compared with 100 % viable ova. Similar reductions (79–80 %) in gene copies were observed for A. caninum ova-seeded raw wastewater samples (n = 18) collected from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) A and B. The newly developed PMA-qPCR method was applied to determine the viable ova of different helminths (A. caninum, A. duodenale, Necator americanus and Ascaris lumbricoides) in raw wastewater, human fecal and soil samples. None of the unseeded wastewater samples were positive for the above-mentioned helminths. N. americanus and A. lumbricoides ova were found in unseeded human fecal and soil samples. For the unseeded human fecal samples (1 g), an average gene copy concentration obtained from qPCR and PMA-qPCR was found to be similar (6.8 × 105 ± 6.4 × 105 and 6.3 × 105 ± 4.7 × 105) indicating the presence of viable N. americanus ova. Among the 24 unseeded soil samples tested, only one was positive for A. lumbricoides. The mean gene copy concentration in the positively identified soil sample was 1.0 × 105 ± 1.5 × 104 (determined by qPCR) compared to 4.9 × 104 ± 3.7 × 103 (determined by PMA-qPCR). The newly developed PMA-qPCR methods were able to detect viable helminth ova from wastewater and soil samples and could be adapted for health risk assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18639-18648
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Hookworm ova
  • PMA-qPCR
  • Public health
  • Viability
  • Wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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