A microfluidic based system was developed for automated online method for the rapid detection and monitoring of drinking water contamination utilising microbial Adrenosine-5′-Triphosphate (ATP) as a bacterial indicator. The system comprises a polymethyl methacrylate based microfluidic cartridge inserted into an enclosure incorporating the functions of fluid storage and delivery, lysis steps and real-time detection. Design, integration and operation of the resulting automated system are reported, including the lysis method, the design of the mixing circuit, the choices of flow rate, temperature and reagent amount. Calibration curves of both total and free ATP were demonstrated to be highly linear over a range from 2.5–5000 pg/mL with the limit of detection being lower than 2.5 pg/mL of total ATP. The system was trialled in a lab study with different types of water, with lysis efficiency being found to be strongly dependent upon water type. Further development is required before online implementation.
- Drinking water
- Microbial contamination