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US pair win 2017 Stockholm Junior Water Prize

Blog post   •   Aug 30, 2017 07:20 EDT

H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden presents Ryan Thorpe and Rachel Chang from the USA with their 2017 Stockholm Junior Water Prize (CREDIT: SIWI Stockholm International Water Institute)

Our congratulations to Ryan Thorpe and Rachel Chang from the USA for winning the 2017 Stockholm Junior Water Prize for their novel approach to detect and purify water contaminated with Shigella, E. coli, Salmonella, and Cholera. The prize was announced at a ceremony during World Water Week 2017 in the Swedish capital Stockholm, the hometown of Bluewater.

A press release said the Jury gave the following citation: “This year’s winning project embodies the fundamental principle of providing safe drinking water. The winner’s motivation is to eliminate millions of human deaths each year. The project developed a unique, rapid, and sensitive method to identify, quantify and control water contaminants.”

The students constructed a system that detects and purifies water contaminated with Shigella, E. coli, Salmonella, and Cholera more rapidly and sensitively than conventional methods. Their system detects as little as one reproductive bacteria colony per litre instantaneously and eliminates bacterial presence in approximately ten seconds. In contrast, conventional methods have detection limits of up to 1000 colonies and take one to two days. The students’ novel approach could prevent the contraction and outbreak of waterborne diseases and expand potable water throughout the world.

The Jury was impressed by the winners, in particular their “exceptional intelligence, enthusiasm and true passion for water and human health.”

“This method is applicable to both developed and developing world. The winning project has used fundamental science in an elegant way to address pathogenic bacteria in drinking water. The project has the potential to revolutionize the future of water quality,” the Jury said further.

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