Developing a simple, inexpensive smart chip to detect water pollutants

Project: Grand Challenges

Project Details


Everyone needs clean water and rapid, inexpensive methods to test waters for chemicals that impair human/animal health. We will develop novel technology to analyze pollutants (1) at the water source, (2) inexpensively, (3) with ease of use and interpretation, and (4) sensing multiple chemicals simultaneously. Nitrates, arsenicals, and lead, which compromise human and animal health and damage proximal ecosystems, are our first pollutant targets. Prototype sensors will sense and report Environmental Protection Agency and World Health Organization critical levels of lead, arsenate, and nitrate by engineering bacterial enzymes and pathways to be specific sensors coupled with two types of inexpensive visual reporter technologies. These sensors and reporters will be tuned to report elevated pollutant levels, engineered to be used in the field, and tested on-site in India and Uganda. Ultimately, we will provide less-privileged global water consumers with excellent testing methods based on biological “sensing,” offering profound health, social, political, and economic benefits.
Effective start/end date1/1/171/31/19


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