Universal microarrays for the evaluation of fresh-water quality based on detection of pathogens and their toxins

Monitoring the quality of drinking water is of paramount importance for public health.

Water is not a commercial product but a heritage that must be protected, defended and treated as such

(Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC).
The threat of waterborne diseases in Europe will predictably increase in the future as the human population increases and as a result of globalization and migration from non-EU countries and of climate change.
Development of efficient, sensitive, robust, rapid and inexpensive tests to monitor various aspects of water quality represents an essential milestone within the strategy for control and prevention of diseases caused by waterborne pathogens and by algal toxins.
Traditional methods for the detection of waterborne pathogens, based on cultivation, biochemical characterisation and microscopic detection are laborious and time-consuming; molecular biological tools have now greatly enhanced our ability to investigate biodiversity by identifying species and to estimate gene flow and distribution of species in time and space. µAQUA aims to design and develop a universal microarray chip for the high-throughput detection in water of known and emerging pathogens (bacteria, viruses, protozoa and cyanobacteria) and to assess the water quality monitoring the presence of select bioindicators (i.e. diatoms). A chip able to detect cyanobacterial toxins will also be developed. These innovative molecular tools should be amenable to automation so that they could be deployed on moorings for routine semi-continuous monitoring of water quality. µAQUA also aims to identify cyanophages potentially capable of controlling and mitigating the periodical blooming of toxic cyanobacteria in drinking water reservoirs. Overall, these innovative and cost efficient technologies will reduce energy requirements and improve performance of water treatment, and allow rapid management response to new situations brought about by environmental (including climatic) changes.

Universal microarrays project on Cordis

List of deliverables

Objective D1.1

Obtain samples and pre-cultures from all sites for probe testing

Objective D1.2

Test existing probes for their suitability for microarray chip use

Objective D1.3

Design and test new probes where necessary

Objective D2.1

Isolation and characterization of cyanophages

Objective D3.1

Standardise sampling procedures

Objective D3.2

Standardise all probe signals with respect to set amounts of rRNA or toxins.

Objective D3.3

Optimise all probes signals for maximum intensity

Objective D3.4

Develop software to analyse the intensity signal and convert it to

Objective D4.1

Monoclonals delivered to assay developer

Objective D4.2

Toxins from aquatic organisms provided to assay developer

Objective D4.3

Construction of immuno-affinity sample prep. device

Objective D4.4

Development and evaluation of first prototype multiplex

Objective D4.5

Development and evaluation of final prototype multiplex

Objective D4.6

Comparison of performance of multiplex assay and LC-MS/MS procedure

Objective D5.1

Obtain samples and establish cultures from all sites for probe testing data

Objective D5.2

Analysis of year one monitoring data

Objective D5.3

Analysis of year two monitoring data.

Objective D5.4

Universal Chip for water borne pathogens.

Objective D6.1

Fully operating Website

Objective D6.2

Periodic Reports

Objective D6.3

Periodic Reports

Objective D6.4

Periodic Reports

Objective D6.5

Universal chip undergoes test phase

Objective D6.6

Final training workshop