A few days ago in Washington DC, Dr. Joan Jofre, from the research group Health-Related Water Microbiology (MARS) of the University of Barcelona, participated in a working group of experts from the US Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) that considered the introduction of coliphages as new indicators in the analysis of the microbiological quality of bathing waters.
The review by the US-EPA of the studies conducted on this indicator in recent years has concluded that coliphages are as good indicators of faecal contamination as the indicators stipulated in the current regulations of the US-EPA (E. coli and enterococci). The study also included a significant number of references to the MARS research group of the UB, which led Dr. Jofre to Washington DC.
The MARS research group holds the patent of a kit for the detection of somatic bacteriophages that reduces analysis time to just three hours, in contrast to the 24 to 48 hours that this test currently takes. Its simple product requirements mean that any laboratory and analyst can perform the measurement of this indicator. The definitive incorporation of somatic bacteriophages as indicators of the quality of bathing waters by the US-EPA makes the valorisation of this patent of great interest.