A new fully automated testing device aims to provide reliable results testing for legionella contamination in less than two hours. Released by Biotica, the device called Legipid uses immunomagnetic separation (IMS) by anti-legionella immuno-modified magnetic beads to provide faster detection of legionella bacteria.
“It is generally recognized that the main analytical issue is to separate the target from the rest of the sample,” said Inma Solis, CEO of Biotica. “Magnetic immuno-beads provide such separation and Legipid combines it with an enzyme-linked colorimetric detection for a rapid 1h test to determine legionella sp. Concentrations in water samples.”
Other existing methods to detect legionella in drinking water includes culture-based techniques, which can lead to contamination due to overgrowing competing microbiota, and polymerase chain reaction techniques, which enumerates DNA of both live and dead cells, as reported by Phys.org. However, with magnetic immuno-beads a suspension of legionella binding magnetic beads is added to the water sample, causing legionella cells present to bind to antibodies on the surface of the beads. These then are incubated with enzyme-conjugated anti-legionella antibodies and can be visualized by colorimetric reaction when enzymes are added.
Biotica also is beginning to develop Ulisens, an automated immunosensor with a filtering module and disposable reagents cartridges for rapid determination of contamination.
"The Ulisens method is a more reliable option for routine testing, particularly in the analysis of water samples with high levels of contamination," Solis said. "Automatic legionella detection eliminates human errors inherent in the manual methods."
This new method is designed for control systems at potentially hazardous facilities, and hopes to expand soon into the commercial sector and swimming pools with a potentially portable version.