Heriot Watt Research Park

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Heriot Watt Research Park

Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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Agullo-Barcelo M.,University of Barcelona | Moss J.A.,University of West Florida | Green J.,Heriot Watt Research Park | Gillespie S.,Heriot Watt Research Park | And 3 more authors.
Letters in Applied Microbiology | Year: 2014

The fast analysis of relative proportions of live and dead cells can be of great value whether for comparing inactivation efficiencies of different biocidal treatments or for monitoring organisms of interest in environmental samples. We introduce here a straightforward method to determine the percentage of intact cells based on treatment of samples with the viability dye propidium monoazide (PMA). PMA selectively enters membrane-damaged cells and suppresses their PCR detection through modification of their DNA. The study was performed using Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts as a model although the principle should be applicable to other organisms. Validation was performed with defined mixtures of live and heat-killed oocysts and by exposing oocysts to a heat stress gradient. The method correctly indicated increasingly lower proportions of intact cells with increasing temperatures. When comparing the loss of membrane integrity of UV-killed (40 mJ cm-2) oocysts during storage in nonsterile tap water, results suggested that integrity declines slowly (over weeks) and at a rate comparable to non-UV-exposed oocysts. For all experiments, the amplification of longer DNA sequences was found beneficial. In the UV experiment, longer amplicons revealed not only higher sensitivity in excluding membrane-damaged oocysts, but also in excluding DNA with UV-induced damage. © 2013 The Society for Applied Microbiology.


Sunny I.,University of Sheffield | Husband S.,University of Sheffield | Drake N.,Heriot Watt Research Park | Mckenzie K.,Heriot Watt Research Park | Boxall J.,University of Sheffield
Drinking Water Engineering and Science | Year: 2017

Trunk mains are high risk critical infrastructure where poor performance can impact on large numbers of customers. Both quantity (e.g. hydraulic capacity) and quality (e.g. discolouration) of trunk main performance are affected by asset deterioration in the form of particle accumulation at the pipe wall. Trunk main cleaning techniques are therefore desirable to remove such material. However, little is quantified regarding the efficacy of different maintenance interventions or longer-term changes following such cleaning. This paper presents an assessment of quantity and quality performance of a trunk main system pre, post and for 12 months following cleaning using pigging with ice slurry. Hydraulic calibration showed a 7 times roughness height reduction after ice slurry pigging, evidencing substantially improved hydraulic capacity and reduced headloss. Turbidity response due to carefully imposed shear stress increase remained significant after the cleaning intervention, showing that relatively loose material had not been fully removed from the pipe wall. Overall the results demonstrate that cleaning by pigging with ice slurry can be beneficial for quantity performance, but care and further assessment may be necessary to realise the full quality benefits. © Author(s) 2017.


Lipphaus P.,Cranfield University | Hammes F.,Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology | Kotzsch S.,Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology | Green J.,Heriot Watt Research Park | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Technology (United Kingdom) | Year: 2014

Whereas microbiological quality of drinking water in water distribution systems is routinely monitored for reasons of legal compliance, microbial numbers in tap water are grossly understudied. Motivated by gross differences in water from private households, we applied in this study flow cytometry as a rapid analytical method to quantify microbial concentrations in water sampled at diverse taps in a medium size research building receiving chlorinated water. Taps differed considerably in frequency of usage and were located in laboratories, bathrooms, and a coffee kitchen. Substantial differences were observed between taps with concentrations (per mL) in the range from 6.29×103 to 7.74×105 for total cells and from 1.66×103 to 4.31×105 for intact cells. The percentage of intact cells varied between 7% and 96%. Water from taps with very infrequent use showed the highest bacterial numbers and the highest proportions of intact cells. Stagnation tended to increase microbial numbers in water from those taps which were otherwise frequently used. Microbial numbers in other taps that were rarely opened were not affected by stagnation as their water is probably mostly stagnant. For cold water taps, microbial numbers and the percentage of intact cells tended to decline with flushing with the greatest decline for taps used least frequently whereas microbial concentrations in water from hot water taps tended to be somewhat more stable. We conclude that microbiological water quality is mainly determined by building-specific parameters. Tap water profiling can provide valuable insight into plumbing system hygiene and maintenance. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.


Mallevre F.,Heriot - Watt University | Alba C.,Lille University of Science and Technology | Milne C.,Heriot Watt Research Park | Gillespie S.,Heriot Watt Research Park | And 2 more authors.
Nanomaterials | Year: 2016

Impact of aging on nanoparticle toxicity in real matrices is scarcely investigated due to a lack of suitable methodologies. Herein, the toxicity of pristine and aged silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) to a bioluminescent Pseudomonas putida bioreporter was measured in spiked crude and final wastewater samples (CWs and FWs, respectively) collected from four wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Results showed lower toxicity of pristine Ag NPs in CWs than in FWs. The effect of the matrix on the eventual Ag NP toxicity was related to multiple physico-chemical parameters (biological oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), total suspended solids (TSS) pH, ammonia, sulfide and chloride) based on a multivariate analysis. However, no collection site effect was concluded. Aged Ag NPs (up to eight weeks) were found less toxic than pristine Ag NPs in CWs; evident increased aggregation and decreased dissolution were associated with aging. However, Ag NPs exhibited consistent toxicity in FWs despite aging; comparable results were obtained in artificial wastewater (AW) simulating effluent. The study demonstrates the potency of performing nanoparticle acute toxicity testing in real and complex matrices such as wastewaters using relevant bacterial bioreporters. © 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


Mansour M.M.,British Geological Survey | Hughes A.G.,British Geological Survey | Robins N.S.,British Geological Survey | Ball D.,Independent Consultant | Okoronkwo C.,Heriot Watt Research Park
Geological Society Special Publication | Year: 2012

Groundwater in Scotland has been, until recently, an under-rated resource given the abundance of surface water resources. In the last decade, a number of new abstractions have been developed and existing ones enhanced. Implementing groundwater abstraction licensing through the Scottish Water Environment (Controlled Activities) Regulations (2005) has accelerated the need to understand such schemes. Simulating the groundwater systems, which are generally small in area, with an immature understanding and where subsurface data are often sparse, is a challenge. This challenge is amplified when groundwater abstraction is proposed from previously unexploited gravel valley deposits in close proximity to large rivers. Examples of recent work undertaken for Scottish Water illustrate the important role that groundwater models have in testing and refining conceptual understanding as well as convincing regulators of the suitability of the groundwater abstraction.


Gillespie S.,Heriot Watt Research Park | Lipphaus P.,Cranfield University | Green J.,Heriot Watt Research Park | Parsons S.,Heriot Watt Research Park | And 5 more authors.
Water Research | Year: 2014

Flow cytometry (FCM) as a diagnostic tool for enumeration and characterization of microorganisms is rapidly gaining popularity and is increasingly applied in the water industry. In this study we applied the method to obtain a better understanding of total and intact cell concentrations in three different drinking water distribution systems (one using chlorine and two using chloramines as secondary disinfectants). Chloramine tended to result in lower proportions of intact cells than chlorine over a wider residual range, in agreement with existing knowledge that chloramine suppresses regrowth more efficiently. For chlorinated systems, free chlorine concentrations above 0.5mgL-1 were found to be associated with relatively low proportions of intact cells, whereas lower disinfectant levels could result in substantially higher percentages of intact cells. The threshold for chlorinated systems is in good agreement with guidelines from the World Health Organization. The fact that the vast majority of samples failing the regulatory coliform standard also showed elevated proportions of intact cells suggests that this parameter might be useful for evaluating risk of failure. Another interesting parameter for judging the microbiological status of water, the biological regrowth potential, greatly varied among different finished waters providing potential help for investment decisions. For its measurement, a simple method was introduced that can easily be performed by water utilities with FCM capability. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Augustinus P.,University of Auckland | D'Costa D.,University of Auckland | Deng Y.,University of Auckland | Hagg J.,University of Auckland | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Quaternary Science | Year: 2011

We present a high-resolution record of lacustrine sedimentation spanning ca. 30000 to 9000 cal. a BP from Onepoto maar, northern North Island, New Zealand. The multi-proxy record of environmental change is constrained by tephrochronology and accelerator mass spectrometric 14C ages and provides evidence for episodes of rapid environmental change during the Last Glacial Coldest Period (LGCP) and Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition (LGIT) from northern New Zealand. The multi-proxy palaeoenvironmental record from Onepoto indicates that the LGCP was cold, dry and windy in the Auckland region, with vegetation dominated by herb and grass in a beech forest mosaic between ca. 28500 and 18000 cal. a BP. The LGCP was accompanied by more frequent fires and influx of clastic sediment indicating increased erosion during the LGCP, with a mid-LGCP interstadial identified between ca. 25000 and 23000 cal. a BP. Rapid climate amelioration at ca. 18000 cal. a BP was accompanied by increased terrestrial biomass exemplified by the expansion of lowland podocarp forest, especially Dacrydium cupressinum. Increasing biomass production is reversed briefly by LGIT perturbations which are apparent in many of the proxies that span ca. 14000-10500 cal. a BP, suggesting generally increased wetness and higher in situ aquatic plant productivity with reduced terrestrial organic matter and terrigenous detrital influx. Furthermore, conditions at that time were probably warmer and frosts rare based on the increasing importance of Ascarina. The subsequent early Holocene is characterised by podocarp conifer forest and moist mild conditions. Postglacial sea-level rise breached the crater rim and deposited 36m of estuarine mud after ca. 9000 cal. a BP. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


PubMed | Cranfield University and Heriot Watt Research Park
Type: | Journal: Water research | Year: 2014

Flow cytometry (FCM) as a diagnostic tool for enumeration and characterization of microorganisms is rapidly gaining popularity and is increasingly applied in the water industry. In this study we applied the method to obtain a better understanding of total and intact cell concentrations in three different drinking water distribution systems (one using chlorine and two using chloramines as secondary disinfectants). Chloramine tended to result in lower proportions of intact cells than chlorine over a wider residual range, in agreement with existing knowledge that chloramine suppresses regrowth more efficiently. For chlorinated systems, free chlorine concentrations above 0.5 mg L(-1) were found to be associated with relatively low proportions of intact cells, whereas lower disinfectant levels could result in substantially higher percentages of intact cells. The threshold for chlorinated systems is in good agreement with guidelines from the World Health Organization. The fact that the vast majority of samples failing the regulatory coliform standard also showed elevated proportions of intact cells suggests that this parameter might be useful for evaluating risk of failure. Another interesting parameter for judging the microbiological status of water, the biological regrowth potential, greatly varied among different finished waters providing potential help for investment decisions. For its measurement, a simple method was introduced that can easily be performed by water utilities with FCM capability.

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