Paper strip detects waterborne bacteria

Paper strip detects waterborne bacteria

Researchers at McMaster University create a rapid test strip that identifies E. coli in water
April 15, 2013

Public swimming areas are the perfect breeding ground for germs like E. coli which can cause severe illness. There are more than 2,000 cases of E. coli-related illnesses annually in Canada at an estimated cost of $21 million.

John Brennan, a member of the Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network and Canada Research Chair in Bioanalytical Chemistry at McMaster University has developed a rapid test strip that can quickly and accurately test E. coli levels in recreational and drinking water to reduce the number of water-related outbreaks around the world.

Conventional water testing requires trained personnel and several days to obtain a result, whereas the strip is inexpensive, portable and gives results in 30 minutes. McMaster is in negotiations to commercialize it in the next two to three years. After further testing, Brennan hopes a similar strip can be made to not only test drinking water but clean it too.