European centre of excellence
for sustainable water technology

Genomics based water quality monitoring

According to the Dutch Water Act, water companies are required to measure a wide variety of chemical parameters in drinking water (>200) while the number of microbiological parameters required is very limited (<10). Microbiological examination of drinking water is primarily based on classical culturing methods. Over the years this has resulted in extensive knowledge about the presence of possible microbiological threats to public health and knowledge of the microbiological processes during the production of drinking water and transport. However, the application of direct cell counts (microscopic and flow cytometry) has shown that the culturable microorganisms in water are only presenting a fraction of the total microbial population (<1%) and that most of the cells seem to be active. Drinking water sources, treatment and distribution have an enormous impact on the (micro) biological composition/quality of the drinking water produced and distributed. The main question is whether it is possible to predict and control the changes in biological quality and stability of drinking water caused by changes in drinking water processes. Within this theme, the focus will be on generating fingerprints (sometimes called barcoding or barcodes) of the complete microbial population present in (drinking) water based on Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). With this the effect of disturbances on the fingerprint can be examined and indicator organisms/markers can be characterized. The final aim is to develop applications for a precise (online) monitoring/control of water quality and water treatment processes.

Inez Dinkla

Theme manager
Gijs Jansen

Theme coordinator
Inez Dinkla

Inustrial partners

Biotrack logo nieuw
Vitens logo
Logo Evides

Academic partners

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Wageningen University 2016

Research projects

• Fabian Ruhnau
, University of Groningen
   Drinking water quality assessment using Next-Generation Sequencing of bacterial DNA and RNA
Antoine Karengera, Wageningen University
   Developing a HyGenChip for detection of genotoxic potency of hydrophilic contaminants
• Marco Loreti, University of Groningen
   Monitoring chemical and microbial quality by mRNA analysis of microbial subpopulations

combining scientific excellence with commercial relevance