Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Develop Rapid Test Strips for Bacterial Contamination in Swimming Water

02.05.2012
Urban beach closures due to coliform outbreaks have become disturbing signs of summer, yet water-testing technology has never been fast enough to keep up with changing conditions, nor accessible enough to check all waters.

Now, researchers at McMaster University have developed a rapid testing method using a simple paper strip that can detect E. coli in recreational water within minutes. The new tool can close the gap between outbreak and detection, improving public safety.

Scientists from the Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network have created and validated the viability of the test strip, which can detect potentially harmful concentrations of E. coli in water quickly and simply, with much greater accuracy than existing portable technology.

The work is described in a paper published online in the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry.

“Coliforms are always a big problem,” says the paper’s lead author John Brennan, a McMaster chemistry professor who holds the Canada Research Chair in Bioanalytical Chemistry. “The methods used to detect outbreaks are slow, and tend not to be portable, as they often need a lab-based amplification step prior to testing, causing a time lag between an outbreak and a beach closure.”

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada funds Sentinel, a strategic research network that spans the country and is based at McMaster. Several dozen researchers are involved in its initiatives.

Bioactive paper is both old and new, Brennan explains. Since the late1950s, physicians have been using bioactive paper to test for glucose in urine. In the last several years, the area has expanded quickly and research has become very competitive as scientists work on new applications.

“It’s always a race,” Brennan says.

The new strips are coated with chemicals that react to the bacteria, and are printed using inkjet technology similar to that found in standard desktop printers. Within 30 minutes of sampling, the paper changes colour to indicate the presence of E. coli, with colours coded to represent different forms and concentrations of the bacteria.

In the future, the test should make it possible for consumers to check their water affordably and easily, without additional equipment, scientific knowledge or long waits.

“One of the problems right now is that there is no simple, fast and cheap way to test recreational water, and certainly nothing out there in the realm of rapid tests for drinking water,” Brennan says.

Field testing of the prototype strips is planned or under way in Canada and across the globe, in regions where untreated water poses particular health hazards. The results of these studies will help to refine the test strips and may lead to strips that are sensitive enough to tell whether water is safe enough to drink, says Brennan.

The standards for safe drinking water are hundreds of times tighter than those for safe swimming water. Typically, limits for safe swimming allow for a maximum of 100 to 500 cells in 100 mL of water, depending on jurisdiction. For water to be considered safe for drinking, there cannot be even one cell in 100 mL – a little less than half a cup of water.

The next stage of pre-commercial development of the test strips is already funded by NSERC through a Phase I Idea to Innovation grant. Commercialization of a final product could take as little as two to three years.

LINKS:
The research paper is here: http://bit.ly/IhS3jX
A video with John Brennan explaining the research is here: http://bit.ly/IEZQq7
A photo of John Brennan is here: http://bit.ly/IwIavX
A photo of the test strip is here: http://bit.ly/JfT9Gx
For more information, please contact:
Wade Hemsworth
Public Relations Manager
McMaster University
905-525-9140, ext. 27988
hemswor@mcmaster.ca
Michelle Donovan
Public Relations Manager
McMaster University
905-525-9140 ext. 22869
donovam@mcmaster.ca

Wade Hemsworth | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.mcmaster.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika

23.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>