Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, Oct. 2009, p. 6431–6440 Vol. 75, No. 20


Copyright © 2009, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


The goal of this work is to develop an online monitoring scheme for detection of viruses in flowing drinking water. The approach applies an electrodeposition process that is similar to the use of charged membrane filters previously employed for collection of viruses from aqueous samples. In the present approach, charged materials are driven onto a robust optical sensing element which has high transparency to infrared light. A spectroscopic measurement is performed using the evanescent wave that penetrates no more than 1 m from the surface of an infrared optical element in an attenuated total reflectance measurement scheme. The infrared measurement provides quantitative information on the amount and identity of material deposited from the water. Initial studies of this sensing scheme used proteins reversibly electrodeposited onto germanium chips. The results of those studies were applied to design a method for collection of viruses onto an attenuated total reflectance crystal. Spectral signatures can be discriminated between three types of protein and two viruses. There is the potential to remove deposited material by reversing the voltage polarity. This work demonstrates a novel and practical scheme for detection of viruses in water systems with potential application to near-continual, automated monitoring of municipal drinking water.