Bacterisk+ system developed by Molendotech
The quality of bathing water around the South West coastline has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years.
With concerns over public and environmental health rising, a new project is looking to develop a remote, faster and more efficient means of testing the region’s seas and alerting authorities to any potential health hazards that are discovered.
The new initiative is being developed by Molendotech Ltd and the University of Plymouth, who between them have considerable expertise in marine autonomous systems and advanced water testing technologies.
Its aim will be to offer remote near real-time water quality assessments through an autonomous water sampling and testing device that builds on existing technology already developed by the project partners.
The project will leverage the use of Bacterisk, a near real-time bacteria risk assessment kit that provides an assessment of water quality in 15 minutes (instead of other methods that currently take longer than 48 hours) and adapt it to allow the remote assessment of water quality.
In Devon and Cornwall, there are 150 bathing water sites and monitoring the water quality of all the coast in near real time would be challenging and costly.
Bacterisk is already being used by water utilities and other stakeholders in the UK to reduce the risk of public health for water users as current methods deliver a late response and are not adequate at protecting the health of the population.
The new system could allow water samples to be collected from the seabed to the surface as frequently as every 30 minutes. The results would then be communicated automatically to those responsible for identifying and managing public health issues. 

We are very pleased and excited to secure this funding. It will enable us to complete the development of an automated version of our water testing technology. This will allow a step change in water quality monitoring and is something the water industry and stakeholders need. Having real-time, frequent assessment of bathing water quality from different locations will allow the development of meaningful water quality maps that users and regulators can use to inform decision making and guide practices. It will be great to be working with collaborators at the University of Plymouth to develop this innovative device.

Simon JacksonSimon Jackson
Chief Scientific Officer at Molendotech

Molendotech is a spinout company of the University of Plymouth, and works out of two University-managed facilities – the Brixham Laboratory in Devon and the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre in Truro, Cornwall.
The company develops rapid pathogen testing technology and Bacterisk is an easy-to-use, portable and rapid test to monitor and detect pathogens found in water and deliver quick and accurate results.
Through this new project, that system will be combined with expertise at the University which has resulted in the development of significant advances in marine autonomous systems.
The result will be a floating device that can autonomously collect water samples, process the samples and transmit the resulting data to shore.
This would not only advance public confidence in bathing water quality, but also significantly reduce carbon emissions in comparison to using a boat or manual sampling regime.

The quality of bathing water in the UK has been a hot topic for many years. This funding will allow us to work alongside Molendotech to develop their cutting edge Backterisk+ monitoring system into a fully autonomous product, utilising the considerable expertise at the University of Plymouth in marine autonomy. The product we plan to develop will potentially allow real-time monitoring of bathing waters for water users, rather than the current weekly measurements. Therefore, providing faster detection of potential health hazards and improved safety for water users.

Keiron FraserKeiron Fraser
Associate Professor (Education) in Marine Conservation

The project is one of 12 to have been offered a share of almost £1.85 million of funding from the Innovate UK Launchpad for the Great South West. This Innovate UK Launchpad provides innovation support and funding tailored to the local area’s strengths in marine and maritime, and more information is available at

How does Bacterisk+ work?

The patented endotoxin detection technology has the potential to transform the way we assess and respond to bacterial contamination. Unlike traditional culture-based methods, the technology makes testing safer, faster and more flexible. There’s no waiting for lab results, no need to grow potentially harmful pathogens and no complicated kit to set up.
Bacterisk+ system developed by Molendotech