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Palacký University
09-16-2015, 21:18, Age: 4 y.

UP Chemists Able to Quickly and Easily Test Drinking Water

By: Martina Šaradínová

Testing by means of a small card will detect contamination in drinking water.

A cheap and quick test that should reveal contamination in drinking water was developed by chemists from the Regional Centre of Advanced Technologies and Materials (RCPTM) at the Faculty of Science, Palacký University. The tester, in the form of a small card, will detect chemical and microbiological contamination. It can protect its owners from health problems such as after drinking sewage-contaminated tap water.

The miniaturised system allows detection of dangerous chemical substances as well as toxic microorganisms. The RCPTM began its development two years ago.

“Our system resembles an identity card – a laminated card. It is submerged into water and then you just wait for the result. Test kits analysing urine or pregnancy tests can be purchased, so this drinking water test could be made available as well. You can use it to monitor the quality of your tap water or even your own well,” said Jan Petr, the head of the research team, adding that this tester is being made for public use.

This “card” contains a system of channels with sensors detecting the basic chemical parameters of the tested water. Microbiological indicators are represented by another independent system of channels where processes such as the cultivation of potential unwanted microorganisms take place. “The main plus of this system is its complexity – it analyses both chemical and microbiological contamination. One of the advantages is also its low price, a few cents. The expenses are so low because the main materials used in the production of our system are paper and wax,” said Petr.

UP chemists have been currently working on the last step which is providing the test results by means of smart phones. “The idea is that the user would only take a picture of the testing card and  then click on the phone to receive information on whether the water is potable. Our software may even assess the degree of contamination,” added Petr. They expect the tester to get to potential users in 2016. The scientists have already addressed companies that may be interested in its production.

Palacký University scientists have been exploring such miniaturised systems for detection of various substances for years. Together with their colleagues in Germany, they have found a way to detect the dangerous anthrax bacteria in its dormant form, as endospores.


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Last update: 19. 09. 2012, Vladimír Kubák