Richard Sustich, Industrial and Governmental Development Manager for the WaterCAMPWS, in a press release about the initiative, said that there is special excitement over the proposed biosensor project, which may result in new tools and methods for water systems operation and reduction of long-term maintenance costs.
"Today's water infrastructure is run on a one-size-fits-all concept." Sustich noted. "Systems are assembled from standard components, and maintenance relies more on manufacturer's recommendations than on a direct understanding of what's really happening during treatment. This works, but it's very wasteful."
According to the workshop abstract the four targeted projects will be:
1. Development of new, porous polymer-based ultra-filtration membranes with special coatings that exhibit higher flux and higher resistance to contamination as well as robust molecular sieving abilities.
2. Development of coatings with antimicrobial capabilities that can minimize biological attachment and biofilm formation that can be applied to current generation membranes that are used for drinking water, wastewater and desalination.
3. Study of mixed metal oxide nanostructured materials for the destruction of biological toxins in surface water and groundwater, using photocatalysis and oxidation.
4. Development of whole-cell microbial biosensors to detect minute metabolite excretions from newly-forming biofilms.