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Monitoring of microbiological water quality by detection of microbial indicator enzymes using a bioelectric flow cell

IGF 19998 N

Compliance with hygiene requirements is imperative in the healthcare and wellness sectors. In public baths, as well as baths in hospitals, rehabilitation centers or hotel sports facilities, ensuring the microbiological quality of water in swimming pools and baths is of crucial importance as the operator is responsible for ensuring that the quality of water does not harm visitor’s health.

Textiles from the healthcare and wellness sectors are subjected to disinfectant treatment in textile service companies to ensure proper hygiene. A renewed microbial contamination of textiles after disinfection step by water used in the rinsing phase must be safely excluded. Process water used in rinsing phase must therefore comply with the microbiological limit values of the drinking water ordinance.

As there are no suitable methods for determination of microbiological water quality in the context of self-monitoring, costly and time-consuming (2-3 days) controls must be carried out. Such controls cause high costs and require a period of approx. 2-3 days. Any necessary corrective procedure may only be performed with a delay due to long duration of the evaluation process.

For this reason, a bioelectric flow cell was developed, which enables a qualitative and quantitative detection of relevant microorganisms by detecting microbial indicator enzymes and thus the determination of the microbiological water quality within the scope of self-monitoring. Detection of indicator enzymes takes place after binding to specific enzyme inhibitors immobilized on working electrodes and labeling with mediators. When a redox-sensitive system is added, electron transfer processes promoted by the mediators are detected voltammetrically.

The project results provide companies with a method for monitoring microbiological water quality that can be carried out quickly and cost-effectively within the framework of self-monitoring. This enables errors in process flow to be identified much more quickly, any necessary corrective measures to be taken immediately and hygiene safety to be further optimised.

The research report is available on request from FRT.

The IGF-pro­ject 19998 N of the re­search as­so­ci­a­tions Europäische Forschungs­ge­mein­schaft Reini­gungs- und Hy­gien­etech­nolo­gie e.V., Cam­pus Ficht­en­hain 11, 47807 Krefeld, was sup­port­ed via the AiF with­in the fund­ing pro­gram „In­dus­trielle Gemein­schafts­forschung und -en­twick­lung (IGF)“ by the Fed­er­al Min­istry of Eco­nom­ic Af­fairs and En­er­gy (BMWi) due to a de­ci­sion of the Ger­man Par­lia­ment.