UF at heart of new German microbiological test research

A new method to test the microbiological quality of water is being developed by a German project named AQUASens, funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung & Forschung (federal education/research ministry) and using a new ultrafiltration (UF) membrane being researched by inge watertechnologies GmbH.

The aim of the AQUASens project is to develop a decentralised analytical system able to rapidly detect microorganisms and xenobiotics in drinking water as well as ultrapure or process waters. This new method will allow a large reduction in time and manpower needed for traditional culture growth.

Other partners in the project are Siemens AG, FRIZ Biochem Gesellschaft fur Bioanalytik GmbH, the Institute of Hydrochemistry & Chemical Balneology at the Technical University of Munich, IWW Rheinisch-Westfälischen Institute for Water Research GmbH and Technology Centre for Water, Karlsruhe.

An electrochemical detection method on the basis of CMOS-technology will be used as an analytical platform, which can detect microorganisms by means of DNA amplification or via antibodies. In order to perform the analysis, the micro organisms need a concentration factor of several hundred fold and, for this task, membrane filtration is the most suitable technology. The surface chemistry of the membrane needs to ensure that particles hardly or never stick to it.

Martin Heijnen, head of inge’s department for membrane development, explains: “The demands on the membrane in this project are enormous. They need to have a high or complete rejection for bacteria and viruses, but at the same time they need to achieve a very high flow at a low transmembrane pressure (a high permeability).

“Even more important is the adsorptive behaviour of the particles on the membrane. As the concentrate of the membrane filtration process needs to be analysed, the complete removal of all the organisms from the surface of the membrane needs to be achieved. To be able to incorporate these demands, inge needs to adjust its membrane chemistry.”

The company’s patented Multibore membranes already achieve many of the characteristics necessary for application in the AQUASens project. Says Heijnen, “By means of the current developments in regards to increasing particle rejection, anti-fouling properties as well as the porosity of the Multibore membrane, we will not only be able to fulfil all the criteria asked for in the AQUASens project, but also increase our technological advantage over other competitors.”

For more information, contact: Tanja Gebhart, Marketing Manager, inge watertechnologies GmbH
Tel: +49 8192 997-712
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.inge.ag