Water diagnosis in minutes on the way

Dr David Garman, president of the International Water Association, told the IWA’s World Water Congress in Vienna in September that researchers for Environmental Biotechnology CRC (EBCRC) in Australia, where Garman is executive director, have developed a diagnostic platform that can produce diagnostic results in minutes that normally take 24 to 48 hours.

“New rapid in-field diagnostic devices will detect the presence of pathogenic organisms or chemical contamination in water in minutes. They will significantly improve water safety and reduce health risk from use of contaminated drinking water in areas affected by major catastrophes and in the developing world”, said Garman.

“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.”

EBCRC’s technology, being developed by researchers at Macquarie University in Sydney and Murdoch University in Perth, mimics the human body’s ability to detect pathogens. By using antibodies in combination with nano and micro particles, it can easily identify pathogens in an environmental sample.

“A key to our success,” Garman told his audience, “is our ability to break up the organism 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.

For more information, contact: Michaela Lauren, Marketing & Communications Manager, EBCRC
Tel: +61 417 260603
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.ebcrc.com.au