Funding secured for research on fast, accurate testing of water quality

Aug. 13, 2009
GREIFENBERG, Germany, Aug. 13, 2009 -- Water-quality testing research and development being conducted by inge watertechnologies AG within the AQUASens project, has received funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research...

• Research of German ultrafiltration specialist inge watertechnologies AG state-aided

GREIFENBERG, Germany, Aug. 13, 2009 -- The research and development conducted by inge watertechnologies AG within the "AQUASens'' project, has received funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung-BMBF). In cooperation with Siemens AG, FRIZ Biochem Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik GmbH, the Institut for Waterchemistry and Chemical Balneology of the Technical University of Muinch, IWW Rheinisch-Westfälischen Institute for Water Research GmbH and TZW the Technology Centre for Water Karlsruhe, a new method will be developed to test microbiological water quality.

Martin Heijnen, Head of Membrane Development, in inge's laboratory.The aim of the AQUASens project is the development of a decentralized analytical system able to rapidly detect microorganisms and xenobiotics in drinking water as well as ultrapure or process waters. This new method will allow a large reduction in time and manpower needed for traditional culture growth. As analytical platform, an electrochemical detection method on the basis of CMOS-technology will be used, which can detect microorganisms by means of DNA amplification or via anti bodies. In order to perform the analysis, a several hundred-fold concentration factor of the microorganisms is necessary, and for this task membrane filtration is the most suitable technology. This membrane needs to have such a surface chemistry that particles will not or hardly stick to its surface.

As a worldwide leading company in the development and production of ultrafiltration membranes, inge watertechnologies received the task of developing a membrane and module with the required characteristics. Martin Heijnen, head of the department for membrane development of the German company explains: „The demands on the membrane in this project are enormous. They need to have a high or complete rejection for bacteria and viruses, but at the same time they need to achieve a very high flow at a low transmembrane pressure (a high permeability). Even more important is the adsorptive behavior of the particles on the membrane. As the concentrate of the membrane filtration process needs to be analyzed, the complete removal of all the organisms from the surface of the membrane needs to be achieved. To be able to incorporate these demands, inge needs to adjust its membrane chemistry."

The internally developed and patented Multibore membranes of inge watertechnologies already achieve many of the characteristics necessary for application in the AQUASens project. Martin Heijnen: „The stability of the membranes is one of the K.O.-criteria. Our Multibore membranes have proven they can handle many water types and already show a very good cleaning ability combined with exceptional membrane strength. By means of the current developments in regards to increasing particle rejection, anti-fouling properties as well as the porosity of the Multibore membrane, we will not only be able to fulfill all the criteria asked for in the AQUASens project, but also increase our technological advantage over other competitors." As is the case with other research projects, any technological improvements accomplished will be incorporated into inge's existing product range of membranes and modules.

The technology developed within AQUASens achieves a fast detection of dangerous microorganisms in for example air conditioning or hot water systems in public buildings or hospitals, and enables corresponding measures to be taken before the outbreak leads to health problems. Using the AQUASens method, communal drinking water as well as public and private swimming pools, will be safer due to the very short processing times for the water analysis. Also for the food and beverage or pharmaceutical industries where ulltra pure water is often needed the developed technology will be extremely helpful.

About inge watertechnologies AG
The company inge watertechnologies AG, based in the town of Greifenberg on the Ammersee lake in Bavaria, Germany, employs more than 80 staff and is the world's leading provider of ultrafiltration technology, a membrane process used to treat drinking water, process water, wastewater and seawater.