First published in Cleantech magazine, Volume 6 Issue 6. Copyright Cleantech Investor Ltd
Having closed a £1.25 million fundraising at the end of 2012, Cambridge (UK) based BACTEST has announced its first product. Speedy Breedy (www.speedybreedy.com), based on the company’s proprietary technology platform CYTOMAIA, is a microbial respirometer that aims to ’automate’ tests for contamination, in water and water-based applications.
Low hanging fruit for Speedy Breedy are applications where samples need to be sent to a laboratory for analysis and where the delay in waiting for results is expensive and also inconvenient for the customer.
Speedy Breedy is faster than its competitors in a head-to-head race - hence its name! Tests can be started by non-experts at the time and place where the sample is taken, providing the double benefit of not having to wait for samples to be sent to a lab and then returned, which can sometimes add days of delay. Where labs don’t operate 24/7 the benefits are even greater. Speedy Breedy is able to grow a detectable colony of e-coli from just one cell in 10.5 hours. The more contaminated the sample, the faster the time to detection.
Visualised Growth and Detection of Contamination
BACTEST is actively pursuing UK water companies looking to speed up time to detection of contamination in clean water. Applications include slow sand filtration sites, sampling post engineering work on mains water to ensure contamination has not been introduced into the system, and testing the final flushing water of new equipment before its commissioning.
In these applications faster turnaround of contamination tests also means contractors can better plan for crew availability as and when they are needed.
“It’s hard to estimate how much time and carbon emissions Speedy Breedy will ultimately save our water companies,“ said BACTEST CEO, Prof. Annie Brooking. “Driving samples to and from labs also adds to our carbon emissions, and it’s not too good for samples either that can degrade due to delays waiting for tests to begin. We have priced Speedy Breedy for volume sales. At £2,500, this is a modest price to pay for major benefits to the water industry.”
As Speedy Breedy is very easy to use and can be run on 12 volts it can be used in a car or van, enabling engineers to commence tests in the field. BACTEST is currently working on a portable lab kit that can be used from the back of a van.
All this innovation has been welcomed by UK water companies. According to one leading executive from Severn Trent: “It’s not whether we should use Speedy Breedy, it’s where we should use it first”. This is welcome feedback for BACTEST, which will begin to ship Speedy Breedy in January 2013.
Protocols for Speedy Breedy are built on a Windows-based PC and downloaded on to an SD card in Speedy Breedy. When connected to a PC, tests can be visualised in near real time and results stored, and graphs overlaid for analysis. In the same way test results from Speedy Breedy are uploaded to a PC to provide an audit trail.
BACTEST aims to raise another £250,000 in Q1 2013 which will be used to further its development of Shepherd, an in-situ, real time monitoring system for activated sludge that is also based on CYTOMAIA. Shepherd will measure the food/biomass ratio in activated sludge, an application that also aims to cut carbon emissions by providing decision support data enabling more efficient aeration in activated sludge systems. Sister products to Speedy Breedy aimed at managing trade water effluent are also in development at BACTEST and will be announced in 2013.
BACTEST is actively seeking distributors for Speedy Breedy globally. In the meantime, Speedy Breedy can be purchased from the web shop at www.speedybreedy.com.
For more information, contact Prof. Annie Brooking on 01223 422312.
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