Heavy Metals Water Testing Powered by DNA

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Courtesy of ANDalyze

Water pollution is a worldwide problem affecting developing and developed countries alike. Heavy metal contaminants are one prevalent type of water pollutant. They are persistent in the environment once d is charged and removal from source waters is necessary to ensure a clean drinking water supply. The problem of heavy metal pollution arises from several sources. Heavy metals such as uranium can naturally exist in ground water. Lead can be present as a result of lead solder in copper piping. Mercury and cadmium can be a result of power plant emissions. Additionally, a variety of industrial processes can produce problematic heavy metal concentrations in discharged water from factories that are harmful to humans and can contaminate agricultural land. Testing for heavy metals at part per billion (ppb) levels is essential to meet international established limits. To meet this need ANDalyze, Inc. has developed heavy metals tests based on catalytic DNA. ANDalyze heavy metals tests are designed to be sensitive, selective, portable, and very easy to use. This paper covers the use, the innovative solution, specifications, applications, and future possibilities of this patented technology.

Limits on heavy metals in waste water and drinking water are often stated in parts per billion (ppb) and are heading in only one direction: down. Current techniques for detection of heavy metals in the low ppb range, such as inductively coupled plasma - mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), are expensive, requiring a six figure investment. These instruments are operated by a trained scientist and remain stationary once installed. Extensive sample preparation may be required and a single mislabeled sample can result in extensive downtime. These workhorse instruments excel at metals analysis, however a method simpler in implementation is advantageous.

A portable alternative would allow for on-site analysis in real time without expensive sample transportation and preparation. Contaminants could be monitored on a regular basis and high contaminant concentrations can be detected before harm is done. Such metals test kits based on colorimetric technology are currently available, though they come with several caveats. Addition of multiple reagents may be necessary, the test procedure for each metal is different, and the detection limits are usually not single ppb level. The USEPA's Maximum Contaminant Limits for Lead and Mercury (inorganic) are currently 15 ppb and 2 ppb, respectively.1 Many colorimetric test kits fail to test below these levels.

Customer comments

  1. By Perumalsamy Navaraj on

    I want to know about this and for which whom I have to contact.