The proposal aims to develop a rapid and mobile (in situ) detection technology based on plasmonic nanoparticles capable of detecting the presence of an emerging waterborne pathogen down to the strain level, as well as Microbial Source Tracking (MST), an advanced tool to resolve the host source of fecal contamination beyond indicator monitoring. The system is the result of a unique combination of different research areas of water microbiology, molecular biology, bioinformatics, and plasmonic nanoarray technologies.
The developed system will enable rapid (<6h) on-site detection and identification of various aquatic pathogens, as well as reveal the source of microbial contamination. It would allow routine screening of water reservoirs or other water sources, detecting (in case of a positive test) not only the presence of the pathogen species, but also the specific strain, as essential information for targeted risk management. The system will also allow the identification of the host responsible for the fecal contamination, i.e., MST, by using host-specific microbial probes.
The proposed study aims to develop a chip platform for microbial water quality assessment by multiplex DNA identification using MST and Vibrio vulnificus as a model.

The project is funded by KIT under the number 02WIL1521.