Recent global events have highlighted the vulnerability of drinking water resources to accidental and intentional contamination with bio-threat agents. To insure the safety of drinking water, source water and distribution systems must be monitored for the presence of waterborne pathogens. Comprehensive monitoring of drinking water for these pathogens requires a considerable concentration step that must effectively consolidate viruses, bacteria, and protozoa from large volumes of water. Sample preconcentration of pathogens in tap water prior to the use of analytical tools for their identification has been an ongoing challenge in monitoring waterborne pathogens. The challenge is particularly large for detecting the intentional introduction of bio-threat agents.
This research developed methods that could be implemented to allow for the more rapid preconcentration of waterborne pathogens. The method(s) have applications for biothreat agent response but also for general monitoring of microbial water quality. The method has been shown to be robust enough to accommodate other types of water samples in addition to tap water.