Affordable and robust E.Coli biosensor development for rapid detection of faecal contamination in water


Bharadwaj Amrutur
(Principal Investigator)
Robert Bosch Centre for Cyber-Physical Systems
Electrical Communication Engineering
Venkatesh N. SeshadriConsultant ScientistRobert Bosch Centre for Cyber-Physical Systems
V. VenkataramanChairman and ProfessorPhysics
Priyanka JainConsultantRobert Bosch Centre for Cyber-Physical Systems
Shweta KamathProject AssistantRobert Bosch Centre for Cyber-Physical Systems


Globally, 1.8 billion people use drinking water sources contaminated with faeces, and this is a leading cause of diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid, and dysentery. Fecal coliform bacteria indicate the presence of sewage contamination of a waterway and the possible presence of other pathogenic organisms. High fecal coliform counts in water indicates that it contains other possible pathogenic strains which can bring about diseases like Typhoid fever, hepatitis, gastroenteritis, dysentery and ear infections. As per WHO guidelines, no fecal coliform should be present in drinking water. Thus, early and rapid detection of fecal coliform bacteria in drinking water with high sensitivity and accuracy, by using an affordable and robust biosensor will help government bodies to take preventive and precautionary measures to avoid health hazards in a community.

Various biosensing technologies have been developed in recent times to detect bacteria, including waveguide biosensor nucleic acid based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology, enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), immunosensing, surface plasmon resonance (SPR), immunomagnetic separation, and microarray technology. Most of these technologies are cost intensive and require equipment, skilled manpower and dedicated laboratories to test samples for accurate and reliable results. Moreover, these laboratory tests are time consuming and are not applicable in the field for point of use testing of water quality. Hence there is a need for rapid, affordable field tests to monitor faecal contamination in water currently.

The present project work was aimed to develop an affordable, highly sensentive, reliable and robust method for rapid detection of faecal coliform in drinking water based on novel TMB reagent and nanoparticles.