News

WLN develops new methods for rapid detection of fecal contamination in drinking water

Posted on 25 March 2015

dws-wln-ecoli-detection-samples-770pxWaterlaboratorium Noord (WLN) has developed new molecular methods for the detection of indicators of pathogenic microorganisms such as E.coli and Enterococci.

The methods are based on the detection of certain parts of specific genes, present in these bacteria. By using the new methods the time from sampling to result is reduced to 4 hours.

Detection of RNA
To obtain a low detection limit comparable to the culturing technique, the methods point at Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) instead of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), since RNA is always abundant in all living organisms. 

Another advantage of RNA is the detection of only living bacteria.

dws-wln-ecoli-detection-lab-350pxRapid response with water notice
WLN has good experiences with the rapid RT-PCR E.coli detection method, especially during water network maintenance. Within 4 hours after a repair it is determined whether E.coli is present.

In case a E.coli contamination is detected, a water notice can be dispatched much quicker.

This was illustrated by a routine check of a water storage tank. WLN discovered the presence of coliforms and enterococci and reported this to the water supply company. Subsequently the water supply company advised households to boil the water before use.

After a second analysis the water supply company could withdraw the advise. By using the new detection method the whole incident lasted 40 hours shorter, compared to using the classical breeding method.

New ISO standard
The methods are validated according ISO-validation standards and at the moment these methods are implemented within the Dutch drinking water laboratories. Eventually the aim is to make new ISO standards for fast detection of fecal parameters in drinking water.

About Waterlaboratorium Noord
Waterlaboratorium Noord (WLN) is one of the four accredited drinking water laboratories in the Netherlands, that has evolved into a first-rate centre for water quality and water technology.

WLN houses biological, chemical and technological expertise, resulting in a broad service package in the field of water quality monitoring, water quality management and water treatment.

Besides the water supply companies of Groningen and Drenthe, WLN works for water boards, authorities, knowledge institutions and industry.

This news item was originally published on the website of Water Alliance.


More information
Waterlaboratorium Noord (WLN)
Glimmen, the Netherlands
+31 50 402 2121
www.wln.nl/en

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