Macquarie has been collaborating with Sydney Water for more than two decades on ensuring the Sydney’s clean drinking water. This collaboration originated in the detection of waterborne parasites Giardia and Crytposporidium in water supplies. Detecting parasites in large volumes of water is particularly challenging and required a suite of novel techniques that combined the then cutting-edge innovations of microbiology and optoelectronics.
The team developed antibodies and nucleic acid probes that targeted the parasites and were then labelled with fluorescent markers. When this was combined with an adapted flow cytometer a novel detection mechanism was created.
20 years later Macquarie is still collaborating with Sydney Water and this technology continues to be used throughout the world.
Professor Duncan Veal, who led the project, said “the university was very supportive in terms of grants and particularly supported collaboration with industry; it supported our role in working for the community good. It was a university that broke down the barriers to create the collaborative and collegiate environment that is key to innovation.”