F-specific RNA bacteriophages (FRNAPHs) can be used to indicate water contamination and the fate of viruses in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). However, the occurrence of FRNAPH strains in WWTPs is relatively unknown, whereas FRNAPH genotypes (GI–GIV) are well documented. This study investigated the diversity of infectious FRNAPH strains in wastewater treatment and disinfection processes using cell culture combined with next-generation sequencing (integrated culture–NGS (IC–NGS)). A total of 32 infectious strains belonging to FRNAPH GI (nine strains), GI-JS (two strains), GII (nine strains), GIII (seven strains), and GIV (five strains) were detected in wastewater samples. The strains of FRNAPH GI and GII exhibited greater resistance to wastewater treatment than those of GIII. The IC–NGS results in the disinfected samples successfully reflected the infectivity of FRNAPHs by evaluating the relationship between IC–NGS results and the integrated culture–reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction combined with the most probable number assay, which can detect infectious FRNAPH genotypes. The diversity of infectious FRNAPH strains in the disinfected samples indicates that certain strains are more resistant to chlorine (DL52, GI-JS; T72, GII) and ultraviolet (T72, GII) disinfection. It is possible that investigating these disinfectant-resistant strains could reveal effective mechanisms of viral disinfection.
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