Canadian microbiology specialist LuminUltra Technologies has introduced an addition to its adenosine triphosphate (ATP) test kits that reports the specific species found in ballast water and, importantly, what these organisms are doing
With the acquisition last year of InstantLabs, a developer of DNA-based measurement technologies, GeneCount has been introduced to complement LuminUltra’s ATP measurement kits with technologies that quickly identify the organisms found in all types of water systems.
While ATP kits determine total micro-organism quantity and confirm water treatment efficacy, GeneCount reveals the specific species found.
LuminUltra Technologies’ president and chief executive Pat Whalen, said “Our second generation adenosine triphosphate technology is now widely considered the most effective way of rapidly monitoring water microbiological content. Now, with GeneCount, we show exactly the type of microbes present. This is particularly beneficial to the oil and gas and maritime sectors.”
Taking the prevention of biofouling in cooling water and processing systems as an example, hypochlorite dosage rates could be increased or decreased according to the presence and quantities of specific microbes of concern. This offers the potential to reduce operational costs by optimising the amount of chemicals used, extending asset life through reducing corrosion impacts and reducing the risk of health and environment risks.
Another area in which GeneCount could be used is in the ongoing research into the transfer of aquatic species by ships through ballast water, explained LuminUltra’s, business development manager of ballast water monitoring solutions,. Carine Magdo
“GeneCount will be a particularly useful tool for identifying new invasive species in specific areas and to provide risk analysis for ballast water treatment exemption zones. In the current regulations, ballast water treatment is exempt in areas where the species are the same. These areas are reassessed every five years, but if there is a change in the biodiversity, then they will no longer be exempt. With a number of laboratories already using DNA-based tools for this purpose GeneCount will be of significant interest.”
LuminUltra’s vice-president of product development, Neil Sharma said: “Working hand-in-hand with the ATP technology, our DNA-based technologies give exponentially more information in understanding the microbiological content of water systems to better manage the cause and effect relationships microbes have on their systems and the environment.
“Since different species are affected in different ways by different treatment processes, GeneCount can be used to optimise the way in which these organisms and microbes are treated. It also supports regulatory development and research into more efficient cooling, biofouling prevention, ballast water treatment, and microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) mitigation systems.”
The GeneCount suite of products and services includes Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) services that not only identify the types of microbes present but also reveal what damage specific organisms can cause, as well as Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) tools for rapid in-laboratory or direct in-field detection and quantification of specific organisms or groups of organisms.
LuminUltra intends to integrate the DNA technology with its ATP-based monitoring tools, including the award-winning ballast water test kit B-QUA and the QGO-M kit used to monitor oily brines, fuel and water in oil and gas production.