Biosensors for the detection of Escherichia coli

Maas, M. B. ; Perold, W. J. ; Dicks, L. M. T. (2017-10)

CITATION: Maas, M. B., Perold, W. J. & Dicks, L. M. T. 2017. Biosensors for the detection of Escherichia coli. Water SA, 43(4):707-721, doi:10.4314/wsa.v43i4.17.

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The supply of safe potable water, free from pathogens and chemicals, requires routine analyses and the application of several diagnostic techniques. Apart from being expensive, many of the detection methods require trained personnel and are often time-consuming. With drastic climate changes, severe droughts, increases in population and pollution of natural water systems, the need to develop ultrasensitive, low-cost and hand-held, point-of-use detection kits to monitor water quality is critical. Although Escherichia coli is still considered the best indicator of water quality, cell numbers may be below detection limits, or the cells may be non-culturable and thus only detected by DNA amplification. A number of different biosensors have been developed to detect viable, dead or non-culturable microbial cells and chemicals in water. This review discusses the differences in these biosensors and evaluates the application of microfluidics in the design of ultra-sensitive nano-biosensors.

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