German Australian joint laboratory for water microbiology (GAbi)

A German-Australian cooperation between the largest organisation for applied research in Australia (CSIRO Brisbane) and TZW aims to further develop molecular biological monitoring tools for water quality.

Monitoring water and quality control are critical for protecting public health. The rapid, specific and sensitive detection of microbial indicators and pathogens offers huge potential for microbial quality monitoring.

In August 2017, a German-Australian cooperation under the name “gabi - German Australian Joint Cooperation for Water Microbiology”, started between the biggest organisation for applied research in Australia (CSIRO, Brisbane) and the DVGW-Technologiezentrum Wasser (German Water Centre, 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.

After a successful first phase, in which structural measures, such as a joint PCR reference laboratory, have already been implemented and further cooperation partners have been acquired, the project enters the consolidation phase. In the second phase, all partners will work in depth on research issues related to water monitoring and establish an extended network in the Asia-Pacific region.


Stange C., Sidhu J.P.S., Tiehm A., Toze S.: Antibiotic resistance and virulence genes in coliform water isolates. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 219: 823-831 (2016) DOI 10.1016/j.ijheh.2016.07.015

Stoll C., Sidhu J.P.S., Tiehm A., Toze S.: Prevalence of clinically relevant antibiotic resistance genes in surface water samples collected from Germany and Australia. Environmental Science & Technology 46: 9716-9726 (2012) DOI 10.1021/es302020s

Ho J., Seidel M., Niessner R., Eggert J., Tiehm A.: Long amplicon (LA)-qPCR for the discrimination of infectious and noninfectious phiX174 bacteriophages after UV inactivation. Water Research 103: 141-148 (2016) DOI 10.1016/j.watres.2016.07.032