This image shows the growth of bacteria colonies at the start of the incubation and timelapse imaging, and at the end. Swipe the image from right to left to see the difference.
Testing water samples in the field rather than in a sterile laboratory is a challenge. The current 'gold standard' is that samples are gathered, taken back to the laboratory, a growth media is added, and the sample is incubated at a constant temperature to see if bacteria colonies are growing. This usually takes at least 24 hours.
The method developed by WaterScope follows the same standards, but does so at the location where the water needs to be tested. Rather than 24 hours, it takes 1-2 hours.
A small scale aseptic microbiology contained within a complete system is used and there are four key steps in the process:
- Initial filtration to concentrate the bacteria in the water
- Transfer of the bacteria to a specific selection medium
- Incubation and timelapse imaging of the bacteria
- Results displayed after 1-2 hours and uploaded to server together with GPS coordinates
The result is that the communities where the water is tested know immediately if there is a problem with their water supply and, as more and more samples are tested, a 'heat map' of water quality can be generated.