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We have developed a new litmus paper test (DipTest) for detecting Escherichia coli (E. coli) in water samples by performing enzymatic reactions directly on the porous paper substrate. The paper strip consists of a long narrow piece of cellulose blotting paper coated with chemoattractant (at bottom edge), wax hydrophobic barrier (at the top edge), and custom formulated chemical reagents (at reaction zone immediately below the wax hydrophobic barrier). When the paper strip is dipped in water, E. coli in the water sample is attracted toward the paper strip due to a chemotaxic mechanism followed by the ascent along the paper strip toward the reaction zone due to a capillary wicking mechanism, and finally the capillary motion is arrested at the top edge of the paper strip by the hydrophobic barrier. The E. coli concentrated at the reaction zone of the paper strip will react with custom formulated chemical reagents to produce a pinkish-red color. Such a color change on the paper strip when dipped into water samples indicates the presence of E. coli contamination in potable water. The performance of the DipTest device has been checked with different known concentrations of E. coli contaminated water samples using different dip and wait times. The DipTest device has also been tested with different interfering bacteria and chemical contaminants. It has been observed that the different interfering contaminants do not have any impact on the DipTest, and it can become a potential solution for screening water samples for E. coli contamination at the point of source.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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