Document Type


Date of Original Version





A method was developed for the selective enumeration of F male-specific bacteriophages in samples of environmental waters. The host strain for the phages, Escherichia coli HS(pFamp)R, has three antibiotic resistance markers, ampicillin on the Famp plasmid, which codes for pilus production, and streptomycin and nalidixic acid on the chromosome. The strain is resistant to coliphages T2 to T7 and φX174. More than 95% of the phages from environmental samples which plaqued on the host strain were F male specific. The host bacterium had a higher plaquing efficiency than E. coli K-12 Hfr for F-specific phages in stock suspensions and sewage effluents. The F male-specific phage levels in prechlorinated, secondary-treated sewage effluents generally were about 103 to 104 PFU/100 ml. The levels in the influents to the sewage treatment plants and in septic tank contents were about 105 PFU/100 ml. RNA-containing phages composed about 90% of the total F-specific phage population in sewage effluents.