Australian researchers believe they have the technology to build a portable and highly precise water borne pathogen detector, and they have announced that they’re proceeding to do just that.
From Australia’s Environmental Biotechnology Cooperative Research Centre:
Environmental Biotechnology CRC researchers at Macquarie University in Sydney and Murdoch University in Perth have developed a diagnostic platform that can quickly turn around results presently achieved in twenty four to forty eight hours.
“We are developing novel technology to overcome the many challenges that rapid pathogen detection presents. New developments include effective sample concentration methods, improvement of the sensitivity of tests and design of portable in-field detection devices.”
“Our technology mimics the human body’s ability to detect pathogens. By using antibodies in combination with nano and micro particles, we can easily identify pathogens in an environmental sample.”
“A key to our success is our ability to break up the organisms and then multiply parts of it by using a special chemical at body temperature. Other systems similar to ours require complex lab equipment or high temperatures, which are just not viable in remote field operations.”
The simple-to-use system will provide results directly to portable devices via simple electronic readouts, laptops and PDAs. The system will be based on proprietary technology, which integrates sample preparation and analysis and will be applicable for the detection of a broad range of organisms for example common water borne contaminants such as faecal coliforms, E. coli, Legionella, Cryptosporidium and Giardia. The system is highly adaptable to food, environmental and point of care applications.
Currently methods used to identify waterborne microbes are either sensitive but insensitive when used with dilute samples.
Press release: Clean water? Getting the answer in minutes… (.pdf)