Navigation Links
New technology enables machines to detect microscopic pathogens in water

AUDIO: Pathogens, meet technology. A new system developed by Texas AgriLife Research automatically scans a water sample and points to potential pathogens much faster than what humans can accomplish. Hence, the diseases...

Click here for more information.

Detecting one of the world's most common pathogens in drinking water soon may no longer be bottle-necked under a laboratory microscope.

Pathogens, meet technology.

A new system developed by Texas AgriLife Research automatically scans a water sample and points to potential pathogens much faster than what humans can accomplish. Hence, the diseases these pathogens may be nipped in the bud before making people sick.

"Currently, it takes humans a long time and a lot of effort to peer through microscopes and look for green dots (indicating the presence of cryptosporidium or giardia pathogens)," said Dr. Suresh Pillai, AgriLife Research scientist and professor of microbiology at Texas A&M University. "This system is more accurate and can provide results immediately for users around the world."

Pillai and his team have been working on the issue since 1996 when he first proposed that to fine-tune the search for pathogens, scientists needed to find a way to "substitute humans with automatic image analysis systems." By the year 2000, "we actually proved that it could be done," Pillai said, who then spent the next nine years seeking a commercial partner who could "move this technology into the marketplace."

Eventually, Pillai found Smart Imaging Technology in Houston. Together they sought additional funding from the state through the Texas Emerging Technology Fund to bring the process into reality. Pillai said the company is in the "final stages" of bringing the detection system online.

"Basically, you put a slide under a microscope, and it will automatically scan the microscope and put potential flags on all potential objects of interest," Pillai explained. "Then the software that was developed as part of this project can hone down on every one of those potential objects and query it to see whether it is the right image based on a number of parameters that we have developed for it to detect."

The automated system was developed specifically to seek out cryptosporidium and giardia -- pathogens that are transmitted via water and cause severe diarrhea in people with compromised immune systems. They are spread globally through contaminated drinking water.

"But we can develop the same thing for other pathogens of interest - anything that is large enough to be detected with a microscope," Pillai said, pointing to Toxoplasma gondii, the pathogen that can pass from cats to pregnant women and cause fetal death. "Right now we have very few people in the country who can identify Toxoplasma gondii under a microscope."

Whether a private company or a university operates the automated microscopic detection of pathogens, the capability could also be offered via the Internet nationally as well as to other countries where money to purchase the equipment is not available, Pillai noted. Because it is automated, the computerized system could be available globally every day and around the clock.

Pillai envisions a variety of applications for this technology, including as a teaching tool for undergraduate and graduate students, a training tool for employees, as a resource for researchers working with protozoan pathogens, and as a means of fee-for-service for pathogen detection.

"We are looking at ways how this technology can address some of the key challenges facing pathogen detection in food and water. We are actively seeking funding to take it to that next level," he said.


Contact: Kathleen Phillips
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications

Related biology news :

1. Yale scientists use nanotechnology to fight E. coli
2. Voice Biometrics Gains Traction as Most Accurate and Convenient Technology to Secure Customer Privacy
3. M2SYS Partners with SecuGen Corporation to Support Market Leading Hamster Plus Fingerprint Reader with Auto-On Technology
4. Silicon Valley Technology Leaders LaserCard Corporation and Tesla Motors Sign LaserPass Secure Access Deal
5. Nanotechnology: Whats that?
6. UCs NIH grant brings technology from outer space to playgrounds
7. BIO-key(R) International to Showcase Deployed Biometric Security Applications at 2007 Biometric Technology Expo
8. Cogent Systems and Northrop Grumman Reach Agreement to Settle Automated Fingerprint Identification Technology Suit and Create Strategic Alliance
9. UCLA/VA partners with ASU to advance biosensor technology for urinary tract infections
10. Herr receives Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment
11. Singapore National Science and Technology Awards
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016 On Monday, the ... to industry to share solutions for the Biometric Exit ... Customs and Border Protection (CBP), explains that CBP intends ... departing the United States , in ... to defeat imposters. Logo - ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... New York , June 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... a new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market by ... and Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the report, ... USD 11.60 billion in 2015 and is estimated ... reach USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... LONDON , June 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Transport Management) von Nepal ... ,Angebot und Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich ... weltweit führend in der Produktion und Implementierung ... an der Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... MA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... Peel Plate® YM (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute ... platform of microbial tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today announced ... has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I am thrilled ... COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific integrator, Hays ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 On Wednesday, ... at 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged ... closed at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. has initiated coverage on ... ), Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals ... (NASDAQ: BIND ). Learn more about these stocks ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... research report to its pharmaceuticals section with historic ... details and much more. Complete report ... 151 pages, profiling 15 companies and supported with ... . The Global ...
Breaking Biology Technology: