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Proceedings Paper

Towards an automated in situ optical microbial water quality sensor
Author(s): Bridget Benson; Susan Savill; Michie Yasuda; Renee Parry; Francesco Peri; Michael Pollard
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Paper Abstract

The monitoring of microbial concentrations in coastal waters is crucial in preventing waterborne disease outbreaks. However, current microbial monitoring techniques require an overnight incubation period, which is too slow to keep pace with changes in microbial abundances in the environment. In order to provide better beach management (i.e. close beaches when there is a threat of disease and avoid unnecessary beach closures when there is not), a more rapid, and preferably real-time, means to measure microbial numbers in coastal waters must be established. This paper describes progress towards a real-time in situ optical microbial water quality sensor based on a rapid method for estimating microbial numbers in water using simple fluorometry and the nucleic acid stain SYBR Gold. We present the hardware and software design of a sensor prototype and initial laboratory tests that prove the prototype is able to accurately and consistently channel water through filters, inject it with fluorescent dye, and provide a measurement of the sample's fluorescence within five minutes. Before the sensor can be deployed in the field, further work is required to study the longevity of the sensor's components, the shelf life of the sensor's reagents, and the correlation between fluorescence and current microbial water quality standards.

Paper Details

Date Published:
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Proc. SPIE 8351, Third Asia Pacific Optical Sensors Conference, ; doi: 10.1117/12.913320
Show Author Affiliations
Bridget Benson, Univ. of Massachusetts Boston (United States)
Susan Savill, Univ. of Massachusetts Boston (United States)
Michie Yasuda, Univ. of Massachusetts Boston (United States)
Renee Parry, Univ. of Massachusetts Boston (United States)
Francesco Peri, Univ. of Massachusetts Boston (United States)
Michael Pollard, Univ. of Massachusetts Boston (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8351:
Third Asia Pacific Optical Sensors Conference

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