Nanoprobe-based Drinking Water Analysis for the Rapid Detection of Biological Contamination

Nanoprobe-based Drinking Water Analysis for the Rapid Detection of Biological Contamination
© Fraunhofer IME | Florian Schröper
The principle underlying AquaNANO detection: A water sample containing potential pathogenic or toxic impurities is mixed with specifically functionalized magnetic nanoprobes. After a short incubation, the nanoprobes with bound pathogens or toxin molecules are magnetically separated and enriched in an immunofiltration column. Contaminations are then detected via the magnetic signals in the column using a magnetic reader.

The aim of the AquaNANO project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), is to develop and establish a novel analytical approach for the rapid and on-site identification of biological contaminants in drinking water. Such a tool would enable aid organizations (such as the German federal agency Bundesanstalt Technisches Hilfswerk) responsible for drinking water supplies following major catastrophic events to analyze large quantities of water in a few minutes. The same approach can also be used for routine drinking water analytics, e.g. to detect Legionella contamination in public or private supply systems.

The approach is based on the use of special functionalized magnetic nanoprobes injected into a sample of drinking water or a pipe system where they would specifically bind to predefined pathogens or toxins. Subsequently, the nanoprobes together with attached contaminants are magnetically separated using a special device, which will be developed during the project. The complexes of magnetic probes and bound contaminants are then applied to a detection compartment in which the attached nanoprobes serve as multiparametric markers to enable the parallel detection of multiple pathogens and/or toxins in a single measuring step.

Project Duration

01.08.2015 - 31.07.2018

Project Partners

Peter Grünberg Institut (PGI-8), Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
DITABIS Digital Biomedical Imaging Systems AG, Pforzheim
Institut für Wasser- und Abwasseranalytik – IWA GmbH (IWA), Aachen
Stadtwerke Aachen AG (STAWAG)
Technisches Hilfswerk (THW)