Abstract

F-specific RNA bacteriophages (FRNAPHs) have been suggested as good indicators of the presence of human enteric viruses in water treatment facilities. The occurrence and reduction of norovirus (NoV) and FRNAPH genotypes in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) have been well studied; however, the relationship between these genotypes in WWTPs has not been fully elucidated. Thus, we aimed to investigate the occurrence and reduction of FRNAPH genotypes in an attempt to identify NoV indicators in a WWTP via a 1-year survey. All FRNAPH and NoV genotypes were detected in WWTP influents at high rates (71–100%), including the infectious FRNAPH genotype IV (GIV), which has been rarely detected in previous studies. The reductions of FRNAPH GII and NoV GII during wastewater treatment indicated a relationship between the two (r = 0.69, P < 0.01), and the mean values were not significantly different. These results suggested that FRNAPH GII could be used as an appropriate indicator of NoV GII during wastewater treatment. FRNAPH GI was also found to be an appropriate indicator of viral reduction because of its high resistance to wastewater treatment compared with the other FRNAPH and NoV genotypes; therefore, it can be considered as a worst-case scenario organism.

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