Using Bacteriophages in Recycled Water Exposure Assessment Studies

  • Joanne E. O’Toole
  • Martha I. Sinclair
  • Karin Leder
Original Paper


Bacteriophages MS-2 and PRD-1 were used as indicators of human viral behaviour in a series of turf-grass irrigation and washing machine experiments to provide information about the level of human exposure to potential residual enteric viruses in recycled water that can affect health. Results provided evidence to support a potential inadvertent exposure volume of 0.01 ml for recycled water used for machine clothes washing. Results for irrigation experiments showed that a one log reduction in bacteriophage numbers on turf-grass was not achieved under exposure to high solar conditions after 4 h. Experimentation showed that bacteriophages may be usefully employed in exposure assessment studies based on the ease of their enumeration and logistical and cost considerations. In terms of future studies, observed differences in individual bacteriophage characteristics provide a rationale for using multiple viral indicators. However, limitations on the utility of bacteriophage also need to be considered.


MS-2 bacteriophage PRD-1 bacteriophage Recycled water Exposure assessment 



The authors wish to thank Naomi Cooke for her technical assistance. Funding from the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Quality and Treatment, Australia; Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and the Victorian Water Trust is acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joanne E. O’Toole
    • 1
  • Martha I. Sinclair
    • 1
  • Karin Leder
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine and CRC for Water Quality and Treatment, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health SciencesMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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