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Content archived on 2024-04-19

Development of a biosensor for monitoring of bacteria in water


The overall objective of the project is to contribute to the development of a biosensor for environmental monitoring of bacteria and of chemicals in water.

The technology to be developed through this project will be based on enzymatic hydrolysis of a fluorogenic substrate, yielding a fluorescent product. The innovative aspects of the project concern detection time combined with instrumentation for vastly improved monitoring. Preliminary test results have shown a positive response with 1-4 fecal coliforms/100 ml for unstressed and stressed bacteria after approximately two hours incubation. Lipase and esterase activities will be exploited to estimate the total number of heterotrophic bacteria after growth in a non-selective medium, whereas monitoring of indicator bacteria will require selective media and specific enzyme/substrate pairs, e.g. the beta-galactosidase/4-MU-galactoside (coliforms). Both the enzymatic process and the instrumentation need to be improved and verified. The research will be interdiscipinary and concentrate on basic biochemical and environmental process research, industrial instrumentation, and environmental technology research, as well as end-user oriented testing and evaluation.

The tasks within this project are as follows:

1. Biochemical Reactions:
to optimize the biochemical reactions necessary to prepare a rapid and reliable monitoring system for coliform bacteria and to optimize the sensitivity of method;

2. Bacterial Recovery:
to optimize the recovery process for injured and stressed microbes to assure that the monitoring system also accounts for those bacteria regularly recovering in natural water environments in spite of any prior bacteria removal processes;

3. Other Bacteria:
to evaluate the possibilities for optimizing other biochemical reactions necessary to prepare a rapid and reliable monitoring system for bacteria in general and specific bacterial strains;

4. Field Comparison:
To evaluate the precision, accuracy, and sensitivity of the proposed monitoring method and compare it with existing standard methods;

5. Instrumentation:
to develop instrumentation for simplification of monitoring, improving precision and frequency of bacteriological analyses;

6. Field Testing:
to contribute to the understanding of how bacteriological pollutants that originate from human activities are spread in the environment and how undesired bacteria manage to survive in marine and freshwater systems, and based on this to selct the most efficient actions.

Call for proposal

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Universiteit Gent
EU contribution
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9000 Gent

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Participants (2)