The present study aimed to establish the kinetics of the appearance of coliphage plaques using the double agar layer titration technique to evaluate the feasibility of using traditional coliphage plaque forming unit (PFU) enumeration as a rapid quantification method. Repeated measurements of the appearance of plaques of coliphages titrated according to ISO 10705-2 at different times were analysed using non-linear mixed-effects regression to determine the most suitable model of their appearance kinetics. Although this model is adequate, to simplify its applicability two linear models were developed to predict the numbers of coliphages reliably, using the PFU counts as determined by the ISO after only 3 hours of incubation. One linear model, when the number of plaques detected was between 4 and 26 PFU after 3 hours, had a linear fit of: (1.48 × Counts3 h + 1.97); and the other, values >26 PFU, had a fit of (1.18 × Counts3 h + 2.95). If the number of plaques detected was <4 PFU after 3 hours, we recommend incubation for (18 ± 3) hours. The study indicates that the traditional coliphage plating technique has a reasonable potential to provide results in a single working day without the need to invest in additional laboratory equipment.

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