Portable laboratory project

We are collaborating with Professor Cesar Mota and his group at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil to develop portable field kits and methods for comprehensive water quality analysis anywhere in the world. Water quality protection is quintessential for achieving the Human Right to Water and Sanitation, and this International Collaboration Award by the Royal Society will help us advance the state of the art in water quality monitoring in remote locations, where there is no laboratory.

Our recent paperĀ reports that combining red LEDs and sunlight in deep high rate algal ponds has a high potential for digestate treatment where extensive pond areas are prohibitive.

This project builds on work in Africa with UK Research and Innovation and GCRF funding. Read our Water Research paper, UKRI and Newcastle University press release on how the “suitcase lab” was used on-site at a small sewage treatment works in the UK, and in the Akaki River catchment in Ethiopia, for the screening of water samples for bacterial hazards.

We have recently also developed a portable and versatile method for fecal pollution source tracking with onsite qPCR assays.

Suitcase laboratory on a bench
Suitcase laboratory
Mini-PCR for 16S gene amplification in action in Tanzania
Microbial community characterization by 16S amplicon sequencing with the MinION to investigate groundwater samples from boreholes in unplanned settlements in Tanzania. Franella loading the flow cell at Ardhi University to generate 8 million reads, each classifying a bacterium.