Bacteria are everywhere and are involved in many processes relevant to our everyday life, yet it is hard to monitor bacterial concentration accurately and in real time. Recently, the physics department, in collaboration with the microbiology department, has developed an all-fibre spectroscopic system called the optrode that is able to detect and quantify bacteria. It provides an alternative to the conventional plate count techniques with advantages of portability, sensitivity, near real-time measurements and ability to detect a highly dynamic range of bacterial concentrations in its natural environment.
The next challenge is to be able to identify specific types of bacteria. One avenue is to immobilise the microorganism using functionalised fibres or microfluidic devices.
This work is funded by a grant in collaboration with a company that is likely to commercialise the device. This research will be carried out in collaboration with microbiologists who will provide samples and knowledge of microorganisms and bacterial processes.