Next generation analytical platforms for environmental sensing: new technologies for old problems
Coleman, Simon (2014) Next generation analytical platforms for environmental sensing: new technologies for old problems. In: 4th Dissemination Workshop for the Nano4water Cluster, 23-24 Apr 2014, Stockholm, Sweden.
Full text available as:
Existing platforms for monitoring of nutrient levels (phosphates, nitrates etc) and pathogens (E. coli) in water bodies are often prohibitively expensive (>€20k) due to the use of conventional sample/liquid handling which results in bulky and labour intensive (servicing and maintenance) devices. As a consequence, this results in monitoring strategies that suffer from a lack of sampling frequency and deployment scale. With outbreaks of waterborne illnesses are still commonly reported in Europe e.g Cryptosporidium, Galway, Ireland, 2008 and the need for the development of real-time monitoring platforms for early warning of potential health risks from waterborne pathogens, particularly in the food industry e.g water as a potential source of E. coli contamination in Germany and Europe, 2011, there is a clear need for advancement of available technologies.
To address these challenges, the NAPES project proposes the development of low cost, autonomous system for environmental sensing in the aqueous environment. This project will investigate ways to deliver revolutionary advances in liquid/sample handling combined with new approaches to performing sensitive in-situ analytical measurements. The goal is to drive down the unit cost of these instruments by orders of magnitude to levels that can create a tipping point, at which the technology becomes ubiquitous. The project brings together a team of 8 participants; Dublin City University (IE), Eindhoven University of Technology (NL), Curie Institute (FR), CIC Microgune (ES), T.E Laboratories (IE), Williams Industrial services Ltd (UK), University of Milan (IT) and Aquila Biosciences Ltd (IE) and will integrate several innovative methods of fluid handling (microfluidic channels incorporating light actuated valves), pre-concentration (functionalised magnetic beads) and detection (phantom surfaces and lectin functionalised surfaces) to produce the next generation in water quality assessment. It is hoped that these new technologies will help produce affordable and fully deployable platforms that will increase sampling frequency and potentially the accuracy of detection through increased sample volume throughput and sensitive detection systems.
The drive towards more effective water treatment will result in a demand for more strenuous measurement of key quality parameters, such as concentrations of key contaminants, to monitor improvements in treatment processes. This necessitates the development of reliable measurement systems to determine such parameters as a means of gauging the success of optimisation of these processes and highlighting areas where improvements may be required. The following talk will introduce the NAPES project, its consortium, the project’s objectives and summarise initial data from each of the on-going research streams that showcase the latest technologies begin developed within the project to achieve this goal. As part of the Nano4water cluster, NAPES hopes to contribute to increased citizen awareness and a contribution to increasing standards in water quality assessment within the EU.
Archive Staff Only: edit this record