NASA 1996 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER : 96-1 16.05-7770B

PROJECT TITLE : On-Line Microbial Water Quality Monitor.

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

The development of novel capability for on-line characterization of microbial water quality, based upon fluorescent probe technology is proposed. Aboard future manned spacecraft such as the International Space Station Alpha a detailed knowledge of the microbial quality of reclaimed waters will be an essential requirement to ensure crew health. Current off-line microbial methodologies are slow, require considerable training and expenditure of crew time to perform with accuracy, and necessitate additional tankage to hold product water pending microbial validation (stemming from the possibility of a whole batch being rejected due to contamination). The ability to detect viable bacteria and fungi on-line, in real-time or near real-time, therefore offers a substantial array of potential benefits in terms of crew time, resupply logistics, and simplification of the water processor design (i.e., reduction of weight and volume requirements). Additional capabilities to be evaluated include the use of fluorescent probes for discrimination between live and dead bacteria and fungi, and for the detection of free DNA. Phase I will demonstrate feasibility. Phase II will result in the design, fabrication, thorough testing, and delivery to NASA of a breadboard On-Line Microbial Water Quality Monitor.
POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
For use by the Federal Government, the primary commercial application will be as flight hardware for the low-level monitoring of bacteria, fungi, and DNA in water reclamation systems supporting long duration missions such as the International Space Station, a Lunar base, or a Mars sprint. Private sector commercial potential encompasses a broad spectrum of adaptations to meet specific ultra-pure water, drinking water, and environmental monitoring requirements. Of particular interest are on-line microbial water quality monitors for use by pharmaceutical and semiconductor manufacturers to demonstrate compliance with extremely stringent requirements for the microbial integrity of ultra-pure water.
NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
James E. Atwater
Umpqua Research Company
P.O. Box 609
Myrtle Creek, OR 7457
NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR
Umpqua Research Company
P.O. Box 609
Myrtle Creek, OR 97457