German-Australian cooperation on water microbiology

Monitoring water and quality control are critical for protecting public health. A key challenge for microbial quality monitoring methods is the rapid, specific and sensitive detection of microbial indicators and pathogens. In August 2017, a German-Australian cooperation under the name “gabi - German Australian Joint Cooperation for Water Microbiology”, was initiated between the biggest organisation for applied research in Australia (CSIRO, Brisbane) and TZW. As part of this cooperation, molecular biological methods to monitor water quality were further developed and optimised with regard to their use in routine analytics. The specific and sensitive detection and indicator organisms using molecular biological tools opens up new possibilities for rapid monitoring and the further assessment of microbiological water quality. Topics such as the PCR detection of viruses and bacteria, the use of microbial source tracking (MST) to identify faecal contamination sources, the detection of antibiotic resistance and the use of microarray technology are handled jointly in this cooperation.

Two structural measures were taken for the joint experimental work. Firstly, a joint PCR reference lab was set up. The joint lab is used to exchange samples, standards and standard operating procedures. Secondly, pilot sites are selected by the German and Australian partners in view of the scientific issue and jointly investigated.

Further information can be found on the project homepage. The project is initially funded for two years by the International Bureau (IB) of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the measure “Funding of conceptualisation and preparation measures to establish joint research centres with partners in the Asia-Pacific Research Area (APRA)” and is used to establish a permanent collaboration. This strengthens and extends TZW’s existing international network.

Prof. Dr. Andreas Tiehm, Tel.: +49 721 9678-137, E-mail: 
Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Claudia Stange, Tel. +49 721 9678-134, E-mail: