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Environmental Sciences and Testing

Environmental science focuses on understanding our natural environment and how humans interact with it. A key area within environmental science is the study of pathogens in our water and soil systems. Being able to detect and monitor pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria, in our environment can help prevent the spread of diseases and improve public health.

We focus on providing solutions for researchers, water testing labs and public health labs to detect pathogens in water. This includes extraction and detection of viral material in wastewater to monitor disease, quantifying live Legionella with qPCR, and rapid ATP testing to detect all live microbes in water samples.

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Environmental Sciences and Testing Applications

Detection of viral material in wastewater is an effective way to monitor and predict disease outbreaks. This approach, known as wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE), has been used around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic as a low-cost solution for obtaining population-wide data. Our new wastewater surveillance methods for capturing and quantifying viral nucleic acid from wastewater has been shown to effectively predict infection rates one week before clinical testing. 

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia caused by Legionella pneumophila, a pathogenic bacterium commonly found in freshwater systems. Using our new viability qPCR technology, detection of live Legionella in water supplies can be done faster with higher accuracy, which is crucial to prevent occurrence of the disease. 

The presence of live bacteria in water systems not only affects public health, it can also impact the infrastructure of industrial systems. For example, bacteria in seawater could cause membrane biofouling in desalination plants, which reduces water flow and is costly to repair. Testing for ATP, a molecular marker of living cells, allows for rapid and sensitive detection of live microbes in water systems. Our ATP testing kit can be used as an effective early warning system to prevent more serious damage in infrastructure.