Simon Jackson

A spinout business founded upon biomedical research at the University of Plymouth has signed an agreement that will help in the development of ground-breaking new water testing products.

Molendotech Limited has developed an innovative assay that is able to rapidly identify the concentration of faecal bacteria in water without the need to wait days for laboratory results. Working in both salt and fresh water, it can deliver results in a matter of minutes, significantly improving the ability to identify and track any pollution source.

The company, which has been assisted by the University’s intellectual property partners, Frontier IP, has entered into a collaboration agreement with Palintest Limited, (part of FTSE 100 Halma group) who will work with Molendotech to bring the test to market and develop further products.

Molendotech has been developed by Simon Jackson, Professor of Environment and Human Health, and the head of the Endotoxin and Innate Immunity Group, within the School of Biomedical and Healthcare Sciences.

Professor Jackson is a leading researcher into immune responses to infection, and in particular, inflammation and sepsis. He said: 

“We are delighted to announce our collaboration with Palintest, a market leader in water testing products. We are looking forward to working with Palintest to accelerate getting our products to market.”

Bathing water must meet minimum regulatory guidelines for faecal contamination, as there are direct correlations between poor quality bathing water and human illness.

Current regulatory tests, conducted in line with the EU Bathing Water Directive 2006, rely upon bacterial cultures and typically take between two-to-four days to yield retrospective results.

The new test uses Lipopolysaccharide as a biomarker, as it is commonly found in faecal bacteria, and water samples can be tested in situ with the new kit developed, providing a much quicker – and cheaper – test for regulatory authorities.

Simon Bowman, Technical Director of Palintest, said: 

“We are very excited to be working with the Molendotech team and pleased with the results achieved so far with the Molendotech technology.”

Neil Crabb, Chief Executive of Frontier IP, added: 

“Molendotech is showing strong potential and its technology and is capable of addressing a wide range of water-testing applications from beaches to the beverage industry.”