Bacteriophages active against specific Bacteroides host strains were shown to be suitable for detection of human faecal pollution. However, the practical application of this finding is limited because some specific host strains were restricted to certain geographic regions. In this study, novel Bacteroides host strains were isolated that discriminate human and animal faecal pollution in Switzerland. Two strains specific for bacteriophages present in human faecal contamination and three strains specific for bacteriophages indicating animal faecal contamination were evaluated. Bacteriophages infecting human strains were exclusively found in human wastewater, whereas animal strains detected bacteriophages only in animal waste. The newly isolated host strains could be used to determine the source of surface and spring water faecal contamination in field situations. Applying the newly isolated host Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron ARABA 84 for detection of bacteriophages allowed the detection of human faecal contamination in spring water.

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