Copyright © 2019 by PuntSeq. All rights reserved.

Technology

Towards better

water quality

Improving our planet’s water quality constitutes a UN Millennium Development Goal, with pathogen contamination being one of the top priority concerns. While the recognition and understanding of changing microbial communities in water resources is essential, global pathogen-level impacts of climate change and rising urbanization yet need to be studied.

 

PuntSeq has developed a real-time workflow for rapid and cost-effective assessments of microbial freshwater communities. We document all necessary steps, from water sampling to DNA extraction, bacterial sequencing and downstream Bioinformatics analyses.

MinION

We employ Oxford Nanopore Technologies’ MinION for DNA analysis; this small and convenient instrument has already been used for pathogen surveillance in other contexts, most famously for monitoring the 2015 outbreaks of Ebola in West Africa and Zika in Brazil. The MinION allows for real-time in situ data analysis, due to its easy transportation and user-friendly protocols. To make the most of this device’s portable nature, our ultimate goal is to design a mobile DNA sequencing workflow that enables citizens around the globe to analyse their own freshwater sources - anywhere, at any time. 

DIY Arduino

The MinION is a great tool to obtain genetic information, and to thereby provide us with an idea about the microorganisms inhabiting specific locations of our rivers. We have additionally devised a simple and cheap DIY (do-it-yourself) kit to measure environmental parameters at the same locations, to then align this information with the presence of certain organisms. Our water testing equipment is based on the open source electronic prototyping platform Arduino, and it can be used to measure water temperature, dissolved oxygen concentration, pH and turbidity.  

Microscopy

PuntSeq aims at a comprehensive analysis of water quality in low-resource settings. Our team will not only assess the chemical and biological quality of our samples, but also seek to verify the abundance of well-known bacterial water contaminants by using cheap microscopy workflows. These screens can be conducted in a portable manner, and we are teaming up with Cambridge’s WaterScope to make it happen.