Thought Leadership
265 d - Doug Watts

Biomeme and the Future of Recreational Water

The CDC’s National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS) launched a new dashboard website that offers outbreak information. In 2009 the CDC started tracking waterborne outbreaks, illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths. We did some analysis of the data. 61.2% of outbreaks were related to recreational water. When it comes to severity, untreated recreational water (lakes, ponds, rivers, etc) are the most severe on a number of illnesses per outbreak basis, with more than 2x the average rate for this category.
 
 
The NORS data illustrates just how important it is to monitor the biological water quality of recreational waters. A number of factors act as water quality indicators. They can be physical, chemical, or biological. An effective indicator must provide a true measure of at least one of these factors. In addition, the cost and effort to measure an indicator should be reasonable. Preferably, this measure does not require highly specialized skills.

A Better Way to Monitor

To meet these requirements, Biomeme has invested heavily in the development of environmental DNA (eDNA) assays. As organisms interact with the environment, DNA is expelled and accumulates in their surroundings. eDNA is DNA that is collected from environmental samples, such as seawater or freshwater, rather than directly from an individual organism. This technique can reliably detect the presence of aquatic species and microbes with ease. Biomeme is developing a number of assays that will allow users to generate actionable data cost-effectively. Furthermore, these products will make it easy to monitor the biological status of their water. Just filter water, extract DNA using Biomeme’s M1 Sample Prep kit and process the sample using a Biomeme thermocycler. In addition, thanks to the portability of the Biomeme platform, this information arrives much faster than if the sample were sent to a central lab. In the future, we believe that this testing method will be as common and as crucial to public health as ph testing.

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