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Highly Sensitive Real Time Laser-based Bacteria Detection Technology

Technology Overview

To prevent interrupted drinking water availability or the distribution of contaminated water, water utilities and bottled water companies need a way to monitor bacterial contamination of their entire water production in real-time. Currently, methods to detect harmful bacteria in water such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and culturing are slow and selective; culturing takes at least 1 day, PCR cannot easily distinguish between live and dead cells, and both examine only small samples. Using novel laser technology, we can perform real-time analyses at scale to detect and quantify contaminant concentrations as low as 1 CFU/mL, 10000x more sensitive than conventional lasers, in either flowing or static media. 

Technology Features & Specifications

The real time bacteria detection solution uses a combination of lasers and machine learning to amplify and then interpet the light scattering patterns. The data on quantity of detected bacteria/other contaminants can be sent to mobile devices or PC. We can detect particle sizes from 100 nm and up, and for media across a wide range of flow rates (much higher flow rates than liquid particle counters and turbidimeters). Compared to other bacteria detection methods, this technology can check the entirety of media in a pipeline without sampling, and process the data to give results in real-time.

Potential Applications

Water

  • Quality control in bottled water plants
  • Bacteria detection and turbidity measurements for tap water distributors
  • Determine maintenance needs for at-home water purifiers

Beverages

  • Quality control in beverage making lines
  • Detect compositional differences that impact refractivity of light

Hospitals

  • Antibiotic susceptibility tests (urine sample etc.)

Market Trends and Opportunities

This technology potentially can help to save over $200K/yr in alternative costs for clients, and cost savings from reducing tests, recall risks, and production halts can be up to 5% of revenue; this is a significant value proposition for many clients.

In terms of market size, the ability to reduce bacteria testing times from a current standard of 1 - 2 days to less than a second, gives this technology a huge potential to enter many different market segments. For the current primary target market alone, the water purifier market, has manufacturers that produce in excess of a million units per year. 

Customer Benefits

According to SCI Research, over 2 billion tests are done every year to check for bacterial contamination. Each test takes an average of at least one day, and our technology can cut this time to less than a second while examining the entirety of the water supply. For companies that perform these bacterial tests, including waterworks, bottled water, and F&B companies, our technology can automate this process and reduce the risk of recall (average recall cost is $1M without accounting for reputational damage) and testing times.

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