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    Avicel is made of a mixture of microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) and carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), and used for virus plaque assay. The avicel in common use is produced by FMC Biopolymer. Due to the relatively fixed proportion of MCC and CMC, avicel in common use is not suitable for plaque determination experiment of all types of viruses. In this study, we evaluated the effect of avicel made of different proportions of MCC and CMC on virus plaque assay, and developed an improved avicel virus plaque assay featured with simple and convenient operation, good practicability and high stability. To generate avicel overlays with different proportions of MCC and CMC, twelve different 2×avicel solutions were prepared. Their overall viscosity and bottom viscosity were measured to evaluate the ease of operation. The results showed that most of the 2×avicel solutions (except the 4.8% MCC+1.4% CMC and 4.8% MCC+1.0% CMC group) were easy to absorb and prepare nutrient overlap than 2×CMC solution. In order to find the best scheme to detect the titer of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), these avicel overlay solutions with different proportion of MCC and CMC were used as a replacement in the standard plaque assay. By comparing the size, clarity, stability and titer accuracy of virus plaque, we identified that 0.6% MCC and 0.7% CMC was the most preferable composition of avicel overlay for PEDV plaque assay. In conclusion, we developed an improved virus plaque assay based on avicel, which may facilitate the research of virus etiology, antiviral drugs and vaccines.


    Qiaoli Lang, Nan Huang, Liping Li, Liangpeng Ge, Xi Yang. Development of an improved virus plaque assay based on avicel]. Sheng wu gong cheng xue bao = Chinese journal of biotechnology. 2022 May 25;38(5):1994-2002

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    PMID: 35611744

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