|Posted by Carole Allen on June 28, 2015 at 7:00 PM|
Viruses are submicroscopic particles that infect cells.
Dr. Joseph Cotruvo, Technical Editor March 4, 2014 (Water Tech)
What are they:
- Viruses consist of RNA or DNA wrapped in a protein coat. They are considered to be quasi-living organisms. They are parasitic at the cellular level.
- Viruses are submicroscopic particles that infect cells. They enter a cell and take over the DNA function so that it replicates the virus, then multiple copies of the virus are released from the cell from leakage or rupture.
- Viruses are very small but their molecular weights are very large. For example, the molecular weight of a poliovirus is about 2,600,000 daltons and adenovirus is about 157 million daltons. By comparison, the molecular weight of chloroform is only about 120 daltons (dalton is the molecular weight unit that was once grams/mole).
- Probably all organisms, even bacteria and plants, have viruses for which they are a host. Viruses are selective and hosts are susceptible only to specific viruses.
- Bacterial viruses are called phages, e.g. coliphages infect coli bacteria.
- Numerous viruses are present in air, food, water, surfaces and adsorbed to some particulates.
- They are fairly stable in the environment, but they are denatured by oxygen, sunlight, heat and disinfectants like chlorine and ozone.
- Viruses are very different from bacteria. They are much smaller, do not have cell walls and are not free living.
- Viruses are nanometer-sized and 10 to 100 times smaller than bacteria, which are usually in the one or two micron size range. They are observed by electron microscopy.
- Some antiviral medications are available; antibiotics are not effective against viruses.
- The shapes of viruses are very distinctive.
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