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Microbial Analysis of Water

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Introduction:

The analysis of microbes in water is a key aspect of water quality that estimates the number of micro-organisms in water and if needed the type of micro-organisms. These microbes may be pathogenic to human beings.The analysis utilizes water samples from which the concentration of microbes is determined. The microbial analysis thus provides inferences for suitability of the water for consumption or any other use. This analytical procedure is crucial in preventing the spread of water-borne diseases that accounts for 3.4 million deaths per year according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). This procedure is performed by government agencies and water utilities to ensure a safe supply of water for drinking, swimming, domestic use and industrial use.

Principle of microbial analysis of water:

Regardless of methodology of the analysis the rationale is based on screening for indicator organisms rather than the pathogens that may cause concern. These indicator organisms are bacterial organisms such as fecal streptococci, non-specific coliforms, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas that are commonly found in the human or animal gut, if detected they suggest presence of sewage in the water or contamination that brings with it pathogenic microbes. Indicator organisms are used in microbial analysis of water as their concentration are directly proportional to the concentration of more pathogenic microbes, that is to say that if the concentration of indicator organisms is high then it is assumed that the concentration of more pathogenic microbes is also high. However it may be necessarily to test the pathogenic organisms in some cases such microbial analysis of water in public drinking supplies that are tested for protozoan pathogen Cryptosporidium and Legionella species (both are water borne pathogens). Analysis can be biochemical, optical or use culture methods. Advanced techniques such as Molecular biology may be utilized when set reference ranges are exceeded.

Methodology:

All methods are based on statistical principles due to small sample size.

1) Multiple tube method: This method involves the dilution of a sub-sample with sterile growth medium and an aliquot of 10 ml is decanted in to each of the ten tubes. The remaining 10 ml is again diluted and the process repeated. In the end dilution of 1:10 to 1:10000 in 50 test tubes is achieved. The tubes are then incubated at a specific temperature and time. Growth in the tubes at different dilutions is then accounted for and the concentration is then derived using statistical tables

2) Membrane filtration method: A 10 ml sample is filtered through nominal pore size ranging from 0.2-0.45 um. The procedure is performed sceptically and a vacuum is utilized to draw sample through the filter.The process aims to filter out the microbes. They remain on filter and moved on to Petri dish with culture medium. The Petri dish is incubated at a specific temperature and time to allow for the replication of indicator organisms. colonies are counted in numbers as “colony forming units” of original sample.

3) Rapid techniques: The use of rapid tests particularly those utilizing Quantitative Polymerase chain reaction (QPCR) have shown competency both in the detection of indicator organisms such as E.coli and specific pathogens. A combination of membrane filtration and QPCR is a rapid and effective method in microbial analysis of water.

4) Culture techniques: These include pour and spread plate methods are useful in enumerating heterotrophic bacteria. They involve growth of the microbe on a culture media with subsequent enumeration of colonies to determine concentration.

5) ATP testing: This method quantifies active organisms through detection of Adenosine Triphosphate. The ATP is measured by measuring the light produced during a reaction with naturally occurring enzyme firefly luciferase using a luminometer.

Biofilm: Biofilms have been identified as complex microbial communities with a variety of bacterial species combined with exopolysacharides. This complexity is important in the growth of bacteria and helps bacteria to resist destruction by chlorine hence their importance in microbial analysis of water

Conclusion:The analysis of microbes in water is a vital component in water quality and ensures the protection of public health through the detection and quantification of pathogenic microbes.

How CROs Are Proving the Anti-Cancer Properties of Beta-Blockers Through Clinical Research

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

If you take Propranolol, a beta-blocker commonly used to treat anxiety disorders, you’ll be pleased to know that a new clinical study has suggested its ability to prevent cancer. Existing animal and human data has already hinted at the drug’s success in treating a number of tumour types, but this pioneering clinical research indicates that it could contain cancer-fighting properties, too.

The beta-blocker has been used to treat ‘infantile haemangiomas’ (benign tumours in children) since the 1960s. Since then, medical scientists all over the world have suspected that this egularly prescribed drug could have other beneficial properties, as well as treating anxiety, and conditions which affect the heart rate.

But this new evidence as to the drug’s ability to prevent cancer in our body’s cells could be life-changing for people all over the world. With almost 1000 cases being diagnosed every day in the UK alone and only 50% surviving the illness, it’s high time we had a breakthrough in the search for a cure.

If you take these beta-blockers, you will already know that they’re one of the safest drugs on the market. Not only are they cheap, but they’re incredibly effective at treating conditions that raise your heart rate above optimum levels – hence their ability to prevent and treat panic attacks in anxiety sufferers.

It’s not surprising then, that the drug has been found to provide a particularly effective solution for Angiosarcoma – a rare form of cancer that affects the heart. This is a rare disease which doesn’t attract much attention from commercial drug developers. But if you know someone who has been affected, you’ll know that, like all cancers, it is in desperate need of a cure.

The toxicity levels of the drug are also incredibly low, so much so that they’re almost non-existent. Generally, this indicates that even by taking it for a prolonged period,you’re not likely to cause lasting damage to your gut or liver. Like any medication though, it provokes different reactions in different individuals, and you should consult your doctor before taking it.

Pharmaceutical companies famously don’t devote much time or research into, what scientists call, ‘repurposing’ existing drugs. But this could well be an oversight on their part. Organisations such as ReDO – The Repurposing Drugs in Oncology project – are hoping to change that. They are sharing their evidence through a series of articles, also in ecancer magazine, if you’re keen to find out more.

Propranolol is also on the WHO List of Essential Medicines, suggesting that non-cancer related drugs might perversely be the solution to cancer. Just to add to its life-changing assets, the evidence surrounding this case study into Propranolol has also advised that it could prevent ‘metastatic cascade’ – a global phenomenon affecting many cancer patients.

Metastatic cascade is the spreading of cancer cells to other areas of the body, and is unfortunately common in patients post-surgery. This is a revolutionary step forwards for medicine, as preventing the spread of cancer could ultimately save millions of lives.

These beta-blockers are also available globally, so patients will not have to travel to receive treatment, like with so many alternative treatments for cancer.

Once again, you should only ever take Propranolol if it has been prescribed by your GP or health physician. Like every prescription drug, it can cause side effects, and also be potentially harmful if mixed with other medications, so you should never take it without consulting a doctor or pharmacist first.

The evidence backing up this latest research is compelling and suggestive of ground-breaking advances in modern medicine. If you want to know more, you can read the clinical study, recently published in ecancer, a medical science magazine.