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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Research project: Rapid assessment of surface contamination and decontamination efficacy

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This projects aim is to develop rapid, sensitive, advanced EDIC/EF light microscopy based protocols to assess the efficacy of current bio-decontamination systems, with a focus on the issues of “how clean is clean?” and “viable but non-cultivable”.

“How clean is clean” depends on the minimal detection level of the analytical method and its ability to resolve live from “viable but non-cultivable” (potentially infectious) or dead cells. Moreover, pathogens attached to surfaces change physiology and are more resistant to cleaning/disinfection than those in solution. This project aims to develop rapid, sensitive, advanced EDIC/EF light microscopy based protocols to directly visualise a range of spore-forming and non-spore-forming bacterial pathogens on surfaces. The procedures in development will define surface cleanliness and verify that bio-decontamination is complete using different bio-decontamination technologies, including those already being used to decontaminate public buildings and emergency services vehicles and equipment.


This project is funded by the UK Government Home Office and managed by the UK Government Decontamination Service. Project runs from April 2006 until January 2012.


Principal Investigator: Professor C. W. Keevil

Research Fellow: Dr A. J. Foster

Related research groups

Molecular and Cellular Biosciences
Environmental Biosciences
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