Rapid Monitoring of Water Contamination Using Cost-effective Sensors

PECRE Award Holder: Dr Zhugen Yang, University of Glasgow

Exchange Host: Southern University of Science and Technology, China

Water contamination is a global issue. Drinking water distribution systems are vulnerable to episodic pathogen intrusion and chemical pollutants, which may arise from pressure losses, repairs or rain-induced run-off of dirty water, even with well-operated drinking water treatment systems, such as available in Scotland and the UK. Contaminations are also impacting local distribution systems with decentralised facilities, such as those present in many low and middle income countries, as well as remote areas of ‘developed’ countries (such as Scotland). In this programme, low-cost, deployable paper-based sensor will be developed for the online monitoring water quality to address global water contamination issues.

We will develop rapid, sensitive and easy-to-use sample-to-answer testing devices which can be widely deployed to identify multiple contaminants (such as arsenic, and microbial) in drinking water and track their source, which employ a paper-microfluidic sensor with amplification technologies strategy, even able to further understanding the date and transfer pathway in the environment. We also aim to use our established methods for identification of pollutants in water. These novel devices will help identify chemical and microbial contamination patterns and dynamics.

The programme will translate the new understanding on the dynamics and transportation of chemical and microbial contamination into effective monitoring strategies and remediation processes, in collaboration with Prof Zheng. In future, our platform will also enable source tracking and monitoring in the wider environment (e.g. agricultural processes), including antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes, and will provide a cornerstone in solving challenges arising to maintain a healthy population.