Welcome to the third article in our Bio-Sensing Technology series, looking at microbial detection and biocontrol. This technology is led by Dr Darren Reynolds and we ask him to tell us a bit more about his research.
So what is microbial detection and biocontrol? What are the benefits and applications?
Microbial Detection and Biocontrol methods can be developed to ensure effective safeguarding of human health within environmental, healthcare and agri-food processes. Microbial detection and biocontrol technology platforms have been developed for a range of industrial and biomedical applications in collaboration with academia, business and enterprise.
Applied microbiological modelling and bio-photonics techniques (including low-light imaging, hyperspectral imaging and spectro-fluorometry) are used for the quantitative analysis and spectroscopic interrogation of biological processes.
Can you give us some examples of projects where the paramagnetic particle-based detection system has been used?
Electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS)
Due to the limitations associated with the use of existing biocidal agents, there is a need to explore new methods of decontamination to help maintain effective bioburden control, especially within the healthcare environment. ECAS have been shown to have broad spectrum antimicrobial activity and have the potential to be widely adopted due to low cost raw material requirements, ease of production and biocompatibility. The institute has expertise in the development and deployment of these novel biocides, including research undertaken in biodefence, biocontrol and food quality and safety.
Water quality sensors
In collaboration with industry, cutting edge deployable optical sensors for water quality monitoring based on fluorescence spectroscopy are being developed. These sensors can be deployed and left in situ for extended periods enabling online real-time water quality monitoring.
Bacteriophage (viruses that infect bacteria)
Bacteriophages are perhaps the most predominant biological entities in the biosphere and have great potential as antimicrobial agents within clinical and industrial settings. Real-time detection technologies based on bioluminescent bacterial reporters are utilised to screen for and determine the efficacy of, newly discovered bacteriophages for use within clinical, food safety and agricultural applications.
Non-thermal plasma is generated by electric discharge excitation producing a neutral ionised gas. This novel technology has known antimicrobial properties and is being evaluated in collaboration with industrial partners for various decontamination applications.
Lead researchers: Dr Darren Reynolds, University of the West of England
For more information about Microbial Detection and Biocontrol, please visit the Centre for Research in Biosciences website.