Thc inactivation behaviour of the bacteriophages PHI X 174 (ssDNA virus). MS2 (ssRNA virus) and B40-8 (dsDNA) toward non-ionizing (UV-253.7 nm) as well as to ionizing radiation (gamma radiation) was studied in order to evaluate their potential as viral indicators for water disinfection by irradiation. Previous findings of the high UV-253.7 nm resistance of MS2 were confirmed whereas an unexpected high sensitivity to gamma radiation compared to the two other phages was found. On the other hand, PHI X 174 revealed an enhanced UV sensitivity but a high resistance to ionizing radiation. B40-8 had an intermediate position between the other two bacteriophages relative to both types of radiation. As expected, the data of E. coli reconfirmed the unreliability of fecal indicator bacteria for the purpose of predicting responses of viruses to water treatment. In UV disinfection the influence of water matrix may be adequately controlled by considering the UV (253.7 nm) absorption of the water whereas so far no such parameter has existed for the influence of the water quality on ionizing irradiation with respect to the scavenger concentration.