Bacteria detection

Trends in pathogen detection and recent developments in the field of pathogenic bacteria detection
J Chapman, A Anastasi, A Power, S Chandra, L Voss, P Rajapaksha and S Cosford
Publication Date (Web): 7 November 2016

This review paper analyses the trends in pathogen detection and other recent developments in the field. The detection of pathogenic microorganisms is essential to end-users of water systems, particularly if the water is supporting life as an end-user. The outbreak of pathogenic waterborne disease is caused by coliforms and E. coli and as such these organisms need to be monitored for such events arising particularly as they are a health issue for humans. The conventional methods of choice have been media-based growth and culturing and multiple tube fermentation methods. Both of these methods are standard protocols and also take in excess of 48 hours to perform, meaning results are somewhat slow. Because the protocols take time, there are clearly issues with time to react to such contamination events, representing a golden opportunity to develop a sensor with near-real time capability. The review explores new and emerging methods that could potentially be developed into near-real time sensors. We have reviewed numerous techniques from immunological, fluorescence in-situ hybridisation, proteomics and genomics, biochemical and finally enzyme detection. 

The paper shows that research in microbial detection in water is ever growing and ever important as a requirement for safe water consumption. If conventional methods are still employed then rapid detection will not be able to be carried out effectively, resulting in a potential risk to public health. Using a series of genomic and biochemical detection assays, characterising E. coli in water bodies will become far easier with improved response times. The challenge comes with building early detection systems that are cost effective, portable, and long-term deployable in a given water body. However, with expected expansion in population growth and increases in tourism these costs may be offset with economic drivers. 

In conclusion, the review showcases some of the potential detection methods that could be developed as near-real time sensors for the future of water usage and water consumption in Australia.

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