In-Situ Microbiology Instrumentation for Recreational, Agricultural, Wastewater and Stormwater Measurements

Wastewater Surveillance - State of the Science and Its Uses for Monitoring Public Health
Oral Presentation

Prepared by D. Angelescu1, D. Abi-Saab2, J. Wong1
1 - Fluidion US Inc., 525 S Hewitt Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90013, United States
2 - Fluidion SAS, 231 Rue St. Honore, Paris, 75001, France

Contact Information: [email protected]; 626-765-5580


Currently, relevant water quality data about microbiological fecal indicator concentrations are difficult to obtain due to the lack of adequate instrumentation and the logistic complexity and expense associated with sample acquisition, transport and in-lab quantification. Time-to-response (TTR) of currently-approved methods is long (24 to 72 hours), preventing the ability to implement prompt mitigation actions and, potentially, also generating an interim risk of exposure. Approved bacterial enumeration methods in use today (i.e. MPN or MF) are not designed to measure the particle-bound fraction, and therefore may drastically underestimate the global bacterial charge.

We present ALERT technology, a novel rapid microbiology method based on real-time optical measurements of enzymatic reaction byproducts, performed during sample incubation in a specific growth medium. ALERT technology can provide results for E. coli, total coliforms, fecal coliforms or enterococci, with a TTR of only 2 to 12 hours. In the current paper we present extensive side-by-side validation results obtained using ALERT technology and approved methods (both MPN and MF), on a large variety of samples (recreational, agricultural, wastewater and stormwater), covering a range of over six orders of magnitude in E. coli concentrations. By processing both filtered and unfiltered samples, we demonstrate that ALERT can enumerate both free and particle-bound bacteria.

We further introduce the latest-generation in-situ analyzer ALERT V2, which uses an innovative disposable measurement cartridge concept integrating check valves, filters, passive mixers, a bioreagent reservoir and an optical measurement cell. The use of disposable cartridges not only simplifies and shortens field maintenance (under 2 minutes), but also fully automates all aspects of the measurement, thus eliminating any potential for human error and greatly improving overall accuracy. Independent side-by-side validation studies demonstrate similar accuracy, and improved precision compared to approved methods.

Multiple case studies from different water quality areas will be introduced.