As part of the EU project “Bacteriophages in Bathing Waters” (January 1996 - June 1999) research was carried out to optimise the method for detection and enumeration of somatic coliphages in water as described in ISO/CD 10705-2 of August 1995. It was concluded that this draft ISO standard needed to be amended in certain aspects. For determining the viable count of the host culture WG5 Escherichia coli, a membrane filtration technique should be used instead of spread plate technique as the latter gives lower and less reproducible results. A freshly prepared inoculum culture of host strain WG5 should be used instead of a frozen inoculum culture as freezing of the inoculum culture is found to negatively influence the phage counts. The double agar layer method (DAL) is preferred to the single agar layer method (SAL) for performing the phage analysis as the DAL method gives higher phage counts than the SAL method.

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