Punjab agri university develops kit for water testing at home

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Ludhiana, Jul 20 (UNI) The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has developed a simple kit for testing the potability of water at home.

This kit is useful for microbiological testing of water and suitable for the detection of total coliforms, faecal indicator bacteria and faecal coliforms from drinking water, recreational water, water treatment plants, rural water supply tanks, lakes and wells, rivers and streams, housing societies, hotels and hospitals, office complexes, filters and bottling plants.

The kit has been developed by Dr Parampal Sahota of the Microbiology Department who developed the kit.

The shelf life of the sealed kit, which consists of a solution, is six months and its contents remain intact, if the seal is not broken.

Dr Sahota who has so far kept the contents of the solution in the bottle a secret said that till now about 2000 such kits had been tested and the success rate was 99 per cent.

The kit is easy to use as methodology is written on the kit bottles and can be carried easily in rural or urban areas by the user, she added.

Simple periodic checks of water storage tanks and filters can now ensure potability of tap water by using this kit, she added pointing out that even filtered water at home can be tested with it and so can the bottled mineral water.

These water testing kits cost a mere Rs 30 each, Dr Sahota said pointing out that waterborne microbes pose a great threat to public health, due to the changing patterns in water use, increased pollution, nation's ageing water treatment systems and outmoded risk assessment protocols.

Main epidemics are due to contamination, breakdown of treatment barriers, contamination of distribution system and use of untreated water, she said.

Giving details, Dr Sahota said there was a need to improve understanding of the effectiveness of various water treatment processes and disinfectants in removing or inactivating waterborne microorganisms.

The methodology of the use involves cutting open the aluminum foil of the kit bottles while keeping the rubber stopper intact.

After opening the kit near the water source, the water sample to be screened for potability is aseptically dispensed in kit bottles up to the calibrated mark (approximately 15 ml).

The kit is then allowed to stand at room temperature for 48 hours. Faecal contamination is indicated, if the content of the bottle shows change in colour from purple to cream yellow and popping of lid within 48 hours.

According to Dr Sahota, if yellow colour develops, water is not fit for human consumption. If the kit's remains purple, water is potable, that is fit for human consumption.

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