Editorial Feature

Bio-Sensing Dipstick Test for E. Coli in Water

The bacterium Escherichia coli, or E. coli, encompasses several hundreds of strains, all of which are often associated with causing both foodborne and waterborne illnesses.

While most E. coli strains are present in normal amounts with the intestines of both healthy humans and animals, the production of Shiga toxin by certain strains of E. coli can cause gastrointestinal symptoms of stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting when the toxin infects an individual1. To prevent the spread of E. coli infections, individuals must wash their hands regularly, only eat pasteurized dairy products and juices, eat meat that has been thoroughly cooked and avoid swallowing water while swimming.

Although these methods may seem sufficient enough in reducing an individual’s susceptibility to E. coli, water sources such as lakes, pools and other supplies that have been contaminated with human or animal feces remain a prevalent source of E. coli. This is especially true for undeveloped areas of the world that may not have access to stringent water purification systems, thereby leaving people of these impoverished nations at a even greater risk to such harmful illnesses.

Water quality tests that are used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are conducted to monitor any possible traces of E. coli in water supplies, however such sterile procedures often require expensive equipment and a minimum of five days to conduct the complete testing. Similarly, field kits can be purchased by trained individuals, however they remain a highly expensive option that is limited in its ability to only be fully conducted in a lab setting.

To combat such challenges in the analytical testing aspect of E. coli infections, a group of Researchers led by Dr. Naga Siva Kumar Gunda at the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology have constructed a new litmus paper test to detect for the presence of E. coli in water samples2. That paper test, otherwise known as a DipTest, is composed of three different sections that include a wax hydrophobic barrier which is immediately above a reaction zone that is coated with enzymatic substrates and other formulated chemical reagents, followed by a D-glucose-coated area of attraction.

If E. coli is present within a given water sample, it is attracted towards the D-glucose area as a result of a chemotaxic mechanism. The water will then continue towards the top of the paper strip through a capillary motion and will stop when it reaches the hydrophobic barrier. The reaction zone will produce a pinkish-red color to confirm the presence of E. coli contamination within a sample.

Such bio-sensing testing methods have been successful in previous attempts to quantify or detect the presence of biomolecules in a particular sample, thereby allowing for both a low-cost and rapid method of detection. The use of antibody-coated immune-magnetic nanoparticles was successfully incorporated to test for the presence of bacteria in water samples in an early study conducted by Hossain et. al3.

The work conducted by Gunda’s group is a realistic step towards the manufacturing of a DipTest device that can be used for field deployable water testing, which will determine within minutes whether the given water sample is contaminated with E. coli bacteria or not.

Aside from being used in remote locations that may not have the immediate access to high tech testing procedures such as those conducted by the EPA, such as swimming pools, lakes, rivers and beaches, such a DipTest device could be a revolutionary tool in impoverished areas of the world that have never previously had access to a clean water supply.

By understanding the threat of a possible spread of E. coli infection within a certain water supply, Health Professionals can offer immediate assistance to those who are already affected, as well as provide the required information for individuals of the area to prevent their own susceptibility to such infection.

Image Credit:

SARANS/Shutterstock.com

References:

  1. “E. Coli Outbreaks Fast Facts” – CNN
  2. “DipTest: A litmus test for E. coli detection in water” N. Gunda, S. Dasgupta, et al. PLOS. (2017). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0183234.
  3. “Multiplexed paper test strip for quantitative bacterial detection” Hossain S.Z., Ozimok C., et al. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. (2012). DOI: 10.1007/S00216-012-5975-x.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Benedette Cuffari

Written by

Benedette Cuffari

After completing her Bachelor of Science in Toxicology with two minors in Spanish and Chemistry in 2016, Benedette continued her studies to complete her Master of Science in Toxicology in May of 2018. During graduate school, Benedette investigated the dermatotoxicity of mechlorethamine and bendamustine; two nitrogen mustard alkylating agents that are used in anticancer therapy.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Cuffari, Benedette. (2017, September 29). Bio-Sensing Dipstick Test for E. Coli in Water. AZoSensors. Retrieved on February 28, 2024 from https://www.azosensors.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=869.

  • MLA

    Cuffari, Benedette. "Bio-Sensing Dipstick Test for E. Coli in Water". AZoSensors. 28 February 2024. <https://www.azosensors.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=869>.

  • Chicago

    Cuffari, Benedette. "Bio-Sensing Dipstick Test for E. Coli in Water". AZoSensors. https://www.azosensors.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=869. (accessed February 28, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Cuffari, Benedette. 2017. Bio-Sensing Dipstick Test for E. Coli in Water. AZoSensors, viewed 28 February 2024, https://www.azosensors.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=869.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this article?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type
Submit
Azthena logo

AZoM.com powered by Azthena AI

Your AI Assistant finding answers from trusted AZoM content

Azthena logo with the word Azthena

Your AI Powered Scientific Assistant

Hi, I'm Azthena, you can trust me to find commercial scientific answers from AZoNetwork.com.

A few things you need to know before we start. Please read and accept to continue.

  • Use of “Azthena” is subject to the terms and conditions of use as set out by OpenAI.
  • Content provided on any AZoNetwork sites are subject to the site Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.
  • Large Language Models can make mistakes. Consider checking important information.

Great. Ask your question.

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.