Optical Detection Technologies for Waterborne Pathogens

Helen Bridle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter covers a range of optical detection technologies, which either detect intrinsic properties of the microorganisms themselves or exploit external labels. The chapter first addresses optical detection techniques requiring sample labeling, mainly fluorescence. A brief explanation of the fluorescence process, and different approaches, is provided. This section also describes attempts to automate the existing protocols as well as general developments toward miniaturized microscopes. Flow cytometry can utilize light scattering to discriminate between pathogens based on size and shape in a label-free way. However, the combination with fluorescence labeling offers greater selectivity and the ability to detect viability and even species, and so this method is presented in the first section. The next section of the chapter discusses label-free technologies. In terms of intrinsic, label-free methods, vibrational spectroscopy techniques, including infrared absorption and Raman spectroscopy, are described in detail. The chapter concludes with a summary, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the optical techniques as well as their future potential, including the key challenges that must be overcome in order to realize this potential.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWaterborne Pathogens
Subtitle of host publicationDetection Methods and Applications
EditorsHelen Bridle
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9780444595430
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Flow cytometry
  • Fluorescence
  • Infrared
  • Optical detection
  • Raman
  • Spectroscopy
  • Waterborne pathogens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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