Monitoring of bacteria concentrations is of great importance in drinking water management. Continuous real-time monitoring enables better microbiological control of the water and helps prevent contaminated water from reaching the households. We have developed a microfluidic sensor with the potential to accurately assess bacteria levels in drinking water in real-time. Multi frequency electrical impedance spectroscopy is used to monitor a liquid sample, while it is continuously passed through the sensor. We investigate three aspects of this sensor: First we show that the sensor is able to differentiate Escherichia coli (Gram-negative) bacteria from solid particles (polystyrene beads) based on an electrical response in the high frequency phase and individually enumerate the two samples. Next, we demonstrate the sensor's ability to measure the bacteria concentration by comparing the results to those obtained by the traditional CFU counting method. Last, we show the sensor's potential to distinguish between different bacteria types by detecting different signatures for S. aureus and E. coli mixed in the same sample. Our investigations show that the sensor has the potential to be extremely effective at detecting sudden bacterial contaminations found in drinking water, and eventually also identify them.
- Electrical impedance spectroscopy
- Bacteria detection
- Bacteria differentiation
- Water quality
- Bacteria counting