Standard Test Method for
Coliphages in Water1
This standard is issued under the fixed designation D 4201; the number immediately following the designation indicates the year of
original adoption or, in the case of revision, the year of the last revision. A number in parentheses indicates the year of last reapproval. A
superscript epsilon (e) indicates an editorial change since the last revision or reapproval.
1.1 This test method covers the determination of coliphages
infective for E. coli C in water. The test method is simple,
inexpensive, and yields rapid water quality data. Its sensitivity
is limited to 5 coliphages per 100 mL of the water sample. This test
method is applicable to natural freshwater samples.
1.2 This standard does not purport to address all of the
safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the
responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
2. Referenced Documents
2.1 ASTM Standards:
D 1129 Terminology Relating to Water2
D 1193 Specification for Reagent Water2
D 3370 Practices for Sampling Water from Closed Conduits2
3.1 Definitions—For definitions of terms used in this test
method, refer to Terminology D 1129.
3.2 Definitions of Terms Specific to This Standard:
3.2.1 bacterial lawn—confluent growth of bacteria.
3.2.2 coliphage—as used in this procedure, a bacterial virus
capable of replication using a specific strain of coliform
bacteria (E. coli C) as a host.
4. Summary of Test Method
4.1 A measured water sample is added to a tube of melted
modified nutrient agar. An E. coli C host culture is added to the
tube, and the contents of the tube are mixed and poured into a
petri dish. The dish is incubated at 35°C. The coliphages
present in the water sample lyse the bacteria and form plaques;
the total number of plaques represents the number of coliphages in the volume of water sample tested.
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