Genogroup distribution of F-specific coliphages in wastewater and river water in the Kofu basin in Japan

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Aims:To determine the genogroup distribution of F-specific coliphages in aquatic environments using the plaque isolation procedure combined with genogroup-specific real-time PCR.Methods and Results:Thirty water samples were collected from a wastewater treatment plant and a river in the Kofu basin in Japan on fine weather days. F-specific coliphages were detected in all tested samples, 187 (82%) of 227 phage plaques isolated were classified into one of the 4 F-specific RNA (F-RNA) coliphage genogroups and 24 (11%) plaques were F-specific DNA coliphages. Human genogroups II and III F-RNA coliphages were more abundant in raw sewage than animal genogroups I and IV, excluding one sample that was suspected to be heavily contaminated with sporadic heavy animal faeces. The secondary-treated sewage samples were highly contaminated with genogroup I F-RNA coliphages, probably because of different behaviours among the coliphage genogroups during wastewater treatment. The river water samples were expected to be mainly contaminated with human faeces, independent of rainfall effects.Conclusions:A wide range of F-specific coliphage genogroups were successfully identified in wastewater and river water samples.Significance and Impact of the Study:Our results clearly show the usefulness of the genogroup-specific real-time PCR for determining the genogroups of F-specific coliphages present in aquatic environments.

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