At the present time water quality is determined through the measurement of E. coli. E. coli is an indicator organism for faecal contamination of water. Present methods do not look at other pathogens and are not practical in the field. New DNA detection technology produces more and more accurate data on water quality that are available digitally within a couple of hours. The project therefore focuses on this.
“Data will be the lifeblood of decision-making and the raw material for accountability in a post-2015 era.”
– Jan Eliasson
(2015, UN Deputy Secretary-General from 2012 to 2016)
We will concentrate on demonstrating ‘the usual suspects’ such as E. coli and Salmonella, but also on new water pathogens for which there is little data available because these cannot be (easily) cultivated. Furthermore, in Mozambique we will test a mobile DNA analysis device that can be used by non-specialists to generate data in the field quickly and easily – ideal in a land with few laboratories.
Annelise Herman is an environmental technologist and passionate about wastewater treatment and the way natural processes can be used for this purpose. Orvion is, therefore, the perfect place for her to work as a trainee (National Water Traineeship) using her knowledge and analytical skills for a variety of water and soil based problems, and to further her own development in this field. The microbiological world surrounding us is full of still to discover biotechnological possibilities.