Chronic wasting disease (CWD) and scrapie can be transmitted through indirect environmental routes, possibly via soil, and a practical decontamination strategy for prion-contaminated soil is currently unavailable. In the laboratory, an enzymatic treatment under environmentally relevant conditions (22°C, pH 7.4) can degrade soil-bound PrPSc below the limits of Western blot detection. We developed and used a quantitative serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) protocol to characterize the amplification efficiency of treated soil samples relative to controls of known infectious titer. Our results suggest large (104- to >106-fold) decreases in soil-bound prion infectivity following enzyme treatment, demonstrating that a mild enzymatic treatment could effectively reduce the risk of prion disease transmission via soil or other environmental surfaces.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology