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U-M professor develops faster way to test beach water for E. coli levels

acteria are pulled out with a magnet, and later mixed into clean water. Bacteria are lysed, or broken open, to release adenosine triphosphate, a substance known as ATP found in every living cell. Then luciferine/luciferase---the substances that make fireflies glow---are added to the clean water suspension because they light up when they interact with bacteria's ATP. The amount of light generated is measured with a hand-held luminometer and the light reading tells whether the water sample is safe.

Equipment needed for the new test runs about $5,000, and the disposable supplies for each test are about $5, which Deininger says is comparable to existing technology. The question, he said, is not one of cost, but of timeliness.


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Contact: Colleen Newvine
cnewvine@umich.edu
734-647-4411
University of Michigan
8-Aug-2002


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