On-site molecular diagnostics

Kishor, Adrian, Rixia and Aom skillfully delivered a fantastic on-site molecular diagnostics workshop for delegates from Newcastle University, the University of Glasgow, and the University of Leeds. Using Russell’s BeWISe Van and our Suitcase Lab we were able to demonstrate the on-site detection of marker genes for human host associated Bacteroides (HF183) in river water. A global first?

Highly variable metaldehyde dissipation in soil can explain its environmental persistence

Nathan Keighley has published a first paper from his PhD on the variability of metaldehyde biodegradation rates in UK soils for locally relevant environmental conditions. These findings can explain why the compound is found in surface water and causing problems for drinking water providers, contrary to the predictions of regulatory environmental fate assessments. Nathan’s PhD is part of the IAFRI partnership between Fera Science Ltd and Newcastle University.

Environmental antimicrobial resistance is associated with faecal pollution in Central Thailand’s coastal aquaculture region

Read how we were able to establish urban faecal pollution as the main driver of environmental AMR in Central Thailand using HT-qPCR and MinION NGS, in collaboration with our partners at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) in Thailand and the Institute of Urban Environment of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


Faecal pollution source tracking in Nepal with our suitcase laboratory for molecular water microbiology

Excellent fieldwork led by Kishor Acharya with colleagues in Nepal successfully demonstrated the application of our suitcase laboratory in a low income country. Kishor and his colleagues used 16S rRNA gene sequencing and SourceTracker analysis to demonstrate how microbial communities in the downstream part of the Bagmati river were mainly contributed by untreated sewage. Read the paper in Clean Water.

Teaching in time of Covid-19

It’s been a most difficult year 2020 which forced us academics to quickly adapt or even reinvent our teaching methods in the light of the constantly changing circumstances of the pandemic. Some things have changed for the better, and maybe the big class lecture will become a thing of the past. But practical skills are difficult to learn remotely, and challenging to deliver with social distancing. In the recently refurbished, well-equipped and spacious Houston Lab, we were able to deliver the membrane filtration practical in Buffer Week in November to small cohorts of students. Many thanks to the technical team for setting up, decommissioning, and disinfecting all of the set-ups between each practical.

Multi-drug resistant bacteria in Malaysian River correlate with faecal pollution indicators

From training into practice: Our collaborators at NUMed in Malaysia have published a paper showing that surrogate markers, such dissolved oxygen, Bacteroides and Prevotella abundances estimated from MinION sequencing data, and the rodA qPCR assay for total E. coli, can identify locations on a river that deserve immediate attention to mitigate AMR spread through improved waste management.

Kishor and the MinION training workshop participants at NU Med, Malaysia. Jia Ye Ho (bottom left) and Jeyanthy Eswaran (center back) are the first and corresponding authors of the paper.