Have you ever been sceptical enough to test those RO water purifiers that claim 99.9999% bacteria eradication Well, researchers at the Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI), Bhavnagar, Gujarat, have developed an inexpensive bacterial sensor to test water for bacterial contamination.
The kit developed by the researchers consists of a small container the size of a vial, with a specialised sterile membrane strip, which has a dye in it and a carbon source. The kit provides a one-step method to detect bacterial contamination in water from any source.
The technology was developed by Dr Soumya Haldar, along with his student, Sweta Binod Kumar. Dr Haldar was awarded the “Biotech Product, Process Development and Commercialisation Award, 2018” by President Ram Nath Kovind in New Delhi on Technology Day, May 11.
Dr Haldar is a Senior Scientist at CSMCRI, an expert in the marine environment. He explained to The Times of India;
“When the water to be tested for bacterial contamination is poured into a small tube (1 ml) having this membrane, the bacteria in the water are attracted to the membrane. Subsequently, the bacteria begin to feed on the carbon source in the membrane resulting in a pH change in the water. This pH change changes the colour of the dye and turns the water from colourless to pink.”
Depending upon the bacterial concentration and the ambient temperature, it takes about 90 to 120 minutes for the results. The solution stays colourless if there is no bacterial contamination.
The kit can help citizens determine the purity of municipal water, to alleviate the risks of public health. It can also be used to test and warn possible water-borne outbreaks.
With the technology already being licensed to a Tamil Nadu-based entrepreneur, the innovation is sure to clear my suspicions and of course, benefit the lives of millions.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)