Clean Technology 2010

Swimming Behavior Spectrometer Developed for Early Warning Water Toxin Detection

K.R. McManus, S. Gallager
Petrel Biosensors, Inc., US

Keywords: toxins, early warning, biosensors


Petrel Biosensors is commercializing a unique real time water quality monitoring technology, known as the Swimming Behavior Spectrometer (SBS) system, which generates accurate and reliable early-warning data for toxins introduced into a water treatment system. The current SBS prototype, developed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and tested under previous DOD funding, demonstrated capabilities within a lab setting to detect a broad array of toxins on a real-time basis. Market research conducted by Petrel indicates that municipal water systems continue to seek rapid, broad spectrum and reliable early warning indicators of water quality contaminants within their source water and distribution systems. The SBS prototype developed under previous funding from DOD provides real-time monitoring of the motility response of protists in a water sample. The motility response of the organism is monitored by tracking the path of the organism as it moves in the sample. The SBS uses ciliates and flagellates that have been cloned from the environment under testing to ensure ecological relevance. The information gathered from the analysis of changes in the swimming behavior of the organisms are processed and displayed on a laptop computer and can be transmitted wirelessly or through a secure Internet connection.
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