Wastewater surveillance is a useful tool for monitoring the regional spread of infectious diseases before an outbreak occurs.

How does wastewater surveillance work?

Wastewater disease surveillance data can be used to monitor the regional or city-level spread of pathogens. It can also be used to analyze targeted sites to identify asymptomatic carriers, capture emerging mutations, and respond to possible infections. With the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 infections, multiple organizations worldwide worked on SARS-CoV-2 surveillance methods using community sampling and tracking of viral nucleic acids in wastewater. 

Methods of detection and surveillance for pathogens including viruses, gram-positive, and gram-negative bacteria are outlined on this page. The same nucleic isolation technology can also be used with samples such as wastewater, sludge, fresh and salt water.

MagMAX kits for wastewater surveillance

Wastewater surveillance testing workflow

Wastewater concentration workflow icon

Wastewater concentration

Viral concentration allows for improved detection and downstream analysis. Viral enrichment with Dynabeads magnetic beads is designed for efficient and advanced concentration.

Automated sample processing workflow icon

Automated sample processing

KingFisher instruments paired with MagMAX wastewater kits allow for a completely automated nucleic acid isolation format without inconvenient centrifugation, filtration, or bead beating steps.

Nucleic acid purification workflow icon

Nucleic acid purification

From the eluate containing concentrated viral particles, viral nucleic acid can be purified using the Applied Biosystems MagMAX Wastewater Ultra Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit. 

Viral pathogen detection via a wide range of qPCR instruments

Microbial and pathogen detection

Viral, bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryal abundance can be assessed via qPCR, dPCR, and NGS depending on experimentation analysis needs.

Wastewater surveillance sample concentration protocols

Wastewater starting volumeSample detailsKit reagents sufficient forKingFisher scripts availableProtocol timePurchase this kit
10 mLConcentration of 10 mL wastewater using Dynabeads followed by nucleic acid isolation100 prepsFlex, Duo Prime, APEX90 minutesMagMAX Wastewater Ultra Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit, with Virus Enrichment
200 μL200 μL wastewater pre-concentrated using a preferred method, e.g., ultracentrifugation100 prepsFlex, Duo Prime, APEX45 minutesMagMAX Wastewater Ultra Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit
1 mL*

A. 1 mL non-concentrated wastewater

B. Wastewater pre-concentrated to 1 mL volume using a preferred method, e.g., precipitation

20 prepsFlex, Duo Prime, APEX45 minutes
50–500 mLConcentration of 50–500 mL wastewater using filtration followed by nucleic acid isolation20 prepsFlex, Duo Prime, APEX90 minutes
Sludge200 mg sludge

20 preps

Flex, Duo Prime, APEX

45 minutes

*works for 1–2 mL, but 1 mL is the most sensitive.

Automate MagMAX Kits using KingFisher instruments

Four different Kingfisher purification instruments

Benefits of KingFisher instruments include

  • Various throughputs—Process 6–96 samples per run depending on the instrument model
  • Interchangeable formats—Process a wide range of input volumes
  • Protocol customization—Easily edit, modify, or create new protocols
  • Optimized reagents—Compatible with multiple magnetic-bead reagents

Explore: KingFisher instruments
Download: Validated software automation scripts for KingFisher purification instruments

Wastewater surveillance resources

Protocols for wastewater sample concentration

Optimized protocol for the enrichment of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater samples. Large sample volumes of wastewater are dilute. Thus, they must be enriched for intact viral presence for pathogen detection via qPCR. Applied Biosystems MagMAX Wastewater Ultra Nucleic Acid Isolation Kits offer a whole host of advantages over traditional wastewater surveillance methods. Isolate nucleic acids from concentrated wastewater in as little as 45 minutes. Our viral enrichment protocol using magnetic beads enables concentration and nucleic acid isolation in less than 2 hours.

Flyer:  Protocols for wastewater sample concentration

Nucleic acid purification resources

Protocols for wastewater nucleic acid purification

This automated protocol has been optimized for the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and other viral targets in wastewater samples since these samples are highly diluted and pre-enrichment is needed to help improve the detection of pathogens. The method we describe here can be used for downstream nucleic acid extraction after enrichment for viral/pathogen targets with Applied Biosystems MagMAX Wastewater kits and requires just 90 minutes of processing time. Using Applied Biosystems Dynabeads Wastewater Virus Enrichment beads for SARS-CoV-2 and other viral targets from wastewater samples followed by bead-based nucleic acid extraction is designed to be simple, fast, and reliable.

Flyer:  Protocols for wastewater nucleic acid purification

For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

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