Sydney: A new screening tool could help detect pesticide traces instantly in large water samples.
David Beale developed the tool, which is based on chemiluminescence - a highly-sensitive technique that reveals the presence of minute quantities of an organic compound.
Beale undertook the project as part of his doctoral research at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology`s School of Applied Sciences.
"Typical pesticide monitoring involves collecting samples on site then taking them back to a laboratory for analysis, a process that can take several days," according to a Melbourne Institute statement.
"By instantly identifying the presence of specific pesticide residues, this new method would enable water utilities to find out on the spot if a water catchment is contaminated.
"With future development, I hope the tool could enable water utilities to monitor their catchments in-situ and in real time for a variety of pesticide classes."
"I hope my work could enable water utilities to catch any contamination earlier, as well as boosting the amount of testing conducted within our water catchments," he said.
"During my honours year, I realised the enormity of pesticide contamination in water and my attention shifted to the investigation of pesticide residue in drinking water - a topic that I continued to research during my PhD," said Beale.