The survival of seven F+RNA phages (MS2 Group I ATCC type strain, two Group I environmental isolates, a Group II environmental isolate, a Group III environmental isolate, and two Group IV environmental isolates) and six F+DNA phages (M13, fd, f1, and ZJ/2 ATCC type strains, and two environmental isolates) were examined in microcosms using a surface drinking water source. Phages were spiked into replicate aliquots of a source water at about 20,000 pfu/ml. Replicate spikes were incubated at 4 and 20°C and monitored for 110 days. At 4°C, Groups I and II F+ RNA phages were detectable through 110 days, with reductions of about 1 and 3 log10, respectively. The Group III F+RNA phage demonstrated 5 log10 reduction after 3 weeks, and the Group IV F+RNA phages were reduced to detection limits (5 log10 reduction) within 10 days. Of the F+DNA phages, all four type strains were detectable with about 2.5 log10 reduction after 110 days at 4°C. The F+DNA environmental isolates were detectable with about a 4 log10 reduction after 110 days at 4°C. All phages demonstrated faster decay at 20°C. These results suggest that differences in F+ phage survival may influence their prevalence in environmental waters and the ability to attribute their prevalence to specific human and animal sources of faecal contamination.

This content is only available as a PDF.