MONITORING OF BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL CONTAMINANTS IN WASTEWATER
The major concern about wastewater is that it offers optimum growth conditions for bacteria, viruses, fungi, and yeasts, including pathogenic microorganisms, that could be very harmful for human health. Moreover, also chemical contaminants could be highly toxic both for human health and for the environment, being that they are non-biodegradable substances. For these reasons, it is necessary to rely on analytical methods which have the capability to provide the results in short times: biosensors could be a good solution for a rapid, quantitative, and specific detection of these contaminants in wastewater samples.
The aim of the project is to develop biosensors able to detect chemical and biological contaminants, including microorganisms, in the integrated water cycle. Bioreceptors and protocols necessary for the analytical assays carried out with biosensors will be optimized, with the final purpose to develop rapid methods enabling an in-situ complete analysis of real samples from the integrated water cycle.
After a bibliography update, the attention will be focused on the selection of specific aptamers and on the design of a probe for the detection of pathogens and chemical substances identified as targets. Then, the objective will be the development of two different biosensors, electrochemical and QCM, and the optimization of the protocols related to the use of these rapid methods for the detection of wastewater contaminants.
To allow a complete and continuous monitoring, the final aim of the project is to develop and optimize a QCM biosensor for an in-situ analysis, able to provide immediately the results that can be used to verify in real-time the quality of the wastewater.