The power of DNA to optimize detection and control of biological processes in water & wastewater systems

The power of DNA to optimize detection and control of biological processes in water & wastewater systems

Microbe Detectives is a pioneering commercial service using the power of DNA to optimize detection and control of biological processes in water and wastewater systems.

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Owners, operators and service companies gain unprecedented knowledge of water microbiomes which puts them in a much stronger position to achieve desired results. The company is a 2014 graduate of the Water Council’s BREW water technology accelerator, winner of the 2015 Wisconsin Innovation Awards and 2017 WEF Gascoigne Award and was selected by BlueTech Research to participate in the 2018 WEFTEC Innovation Showcase. Microbe Detectives hosted the Microbiome Water Summit in 2018 at the Shedd Aquarium, Chicago.

Problem  – The microbiome of any water or wastewater system can be beneficial or detrimental. Standard test methods such as culture and microscopy are used commonly by utilities and facilities to provide critical biological information. However, well over 90% of the microbiology in any water system is not identifiable by these methods.

Solution  – Using the power of DNA, new insights are created. We identify and quantify nearly 100% of environmental bacteria, archaea and eurkaryotes (fungi, mold, algae, etc.) and convert this large quantity of data into actionable knowledge that is specialized for each application.

Wastewater Treatment

The Problem

Wastewater treatment is a microbial process that can be fickle and difficult to troubleshoot. Troubleshooting is typically performed by analyzing microbes with a microscope. However, this method can only identify large microbes with unique shapes or staining features. Most microbes responsible for wastewater treatment are small without unique shapes. Identifying and solving issues can be difficult or impossible with microscopy.

Example Insights and Benefits Unique to DNA

 
KPIs Advantage of DNA
Nitrification DNA methods are the only reliable method to detect and assess nitrification.
Phosphorus Removal DNA methods are the only reliable method to detect and assess biological phosphorus removal.
Foaming DNA methods detect and quantify all foaming bacteria. Identification with a microscope typically requires a trained microscope operator.
Filaments/Bulking/Poor settling DNA methods detect and quantify all filments. Many filaments are difficult to identify with a microscope and cannot be easily quantified.
Interpretation of Positive Coliform Tests DNA can be used to indicate whether identified coliforms are naturally occurring environmental bacteria or are associated with other fecal bacteria.
Anaerobic Digester Gas Production DNA is the only method that can be used to assess and track the health of the methanogens to help produce more gas and energy.

 

SOURCE THE WATER TRUST BLOG