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Rapid Test Strips Detect Bacterial Contamination in Swimming Water

Urban beach closures due to coliform outbreaks have become disturbing signs of summer, yet water-testing technology has never been fast enough to keep up with changing conditions, nor accessible enough to check all waters.

Now, researchers at McMaster University have developed a rapid testing method using a simple paper strip that can detect E. coli in recreational water within minutes. The new tool can close the gap between outbreak and detection, improving public safety.

Scientists from the Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network have created and validated the viability of the test strip, which can detect potentially harmful concentrations of E. coli in water quickly and simply, with much greater accuracy than existing portable technology.

The work is described in a paper published online in the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry.

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