IIT Kanpur develops cheap E coli water testing kit

IIT Kanpur develops cheap E coli water testing kit

At a price of Rs 199, the novel kit is highly sensitive and can detect the presence of E coli in drinking water

Kanpur: A novel water testing kit that is highly sensitive and can detect the presence of E.coli in drinking water has been developed by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, the institute said on Monday.

Escherichia coli or E coli is a bacteria that normally lives in the intestines of healthy people and animals. Most types of E coli are harmless but a few strains can cause severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhoea and vomiting.

The kit is very easy to use, with false-positive results being rare. It is cheap, provides high accuracy, as well as has technological advantages over similar currently available kits in the market, said the researchers who validated its success in field trials conducted in Odisha.

"This E coli water testing kit will surely be a boon when it comes to tackling water contamination and detecting the presence of E coli. The low-cost and higher accuracy nature of the product will give it the required advantage over its peers in the market and will be a benchmark for the Make in India initiative," said Prof Abhay Karandikar, Director, IIT Kanpur.

The test is conducted using pre-prepared vials filled with chemicals and a chemical-infused gel for 24 hours before reading. The methodology uses a growth medium specific for Ecoli and detection of a marker enzyme produced by the E coli bacteria.

A visual colour change from the enzyme-substrate interaction and a simple method thereof determines the presence or absence of bacteriological contamination in drinking water. The kit detects biomarkers secreted only by E coli bacteria and will not change the colour in presence of other commonly found bacteria in tropical soil or water.

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