Drinking water bacteria detection system wins Stockholm Junior Water Prize

The 2017 Stockholm Junior Water Prize has been awarded to two US students for a novel approach to detect and purify water contaminated with Shigella, E. coli, Salmonella, and Cholera...

Content Dam Ww Online Articles 2017 08 Siwi Junior Prize

Content Dam Ww Online Articles 2017 08 Siwi Junior Prize

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – The 2017 Stockholm Junior Water Prize has been awarded to two US students for a novel approach to detect and purify water contaminated with Shigella, E. coli, Salmonella, and Cholera.

Ryan Thorpe and Rachel Chang constructed a system that detects and purifies water contaminated with Shigella, E. coli, Salmonella, and Cholera more rapidly and sensitively than conventional methods.

The system detects as little as one reproductive bacteria colony per litre instantaneously and eliminates bacterial presence in approximately ten seconds. In contrast, conventional methods have detection limits of up to 1000 colonies and take one to two days.

The prize, which attracted teams from 33 countries competing in the 2017 finals, was presented by H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden during the World Water Week in Stockholm.

In its citation, the Jury said: “This year’s winning project embodies the fundamental principle of providing safe drinking water. The winner’s motivation is to eliminate millions of human deaths each year. The project developed a unique, rapid, and sensitive method to identify, quantify and control water contaminants.”

As the pair received the prize, Rachel Chang said: “I’m feeling so overwhelmed with emotions. All the projects here are absolutely amazing, truly of the highest quality. So, to be able to win such an achievement, it feels incredible”.

Torgny Holmgren, executive director of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), said: “This is a very inspiring project that takes on one of the world’s biggest challenges, providing clean drinking water for all. Methods like these can unlock huge human potential, when access to safe drinking water, and by extension health, improves among hundreds of millions of people.”

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