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Rapid Screening Of Pathogens In Water
Microbial contamination of drinking water and waterborne disease outbreaks continue to present a significant concern for the water industry. There is a need for pathogen detection methods that (1) incorporate sensitive detection and identification at the species/strain level, (2) have the ability to process many samples simultaneously, (3) involve minimal risk of false identification, (4) are adaptable, and (5) contain the capacity for some degree of automation. Molecular-based assays in high-throughput multi-well formats meet these requirements.
The demonstration of the feasibility of a microplate-based rapid screening assay indicates that the water industry should continue to pursue and fund exploratory research into the development of innovative pathogen detection methods. Such techniques may be used for routine screening of drinking water during outbreak situations, or to investigate episodes of intentional contamination. All of these situations require pathogen detection tools that can generate results, even if the results are only presumptive, in as short a time as possible. The assay may be linked to direct nucleic extraction methods so that all potential pathogens can be screened in a sample, thereby uncoupling the assay from time-consuming and often inefficient conventional microbial recovery methods.
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