When swimming supports science: Scienion contributes to the “Rheines Wasser” project with micro-array testing

Rhine wasser

Scienion today announced that the company supports the unique research project ‘Rheines Wasser’ involving a 1,231 km long Rhine marathon swim. SCIENIONs contribution includes water quality testing with a novel multi-parameter microarray, financing all microarrays, sample preparation, experimental work and providing equipment.

In the ambitious project ‘Rheines Wasser’, Andreas Fath, a Furtwangen University professor of Physical and Analytical Chemistry specializing in Ecological Engineering, plans to swim the Rhine from the source in the Swiss Alps to the estuary in the North Sea. Besides the sporting challenge, Fath and his team will take daily water samples all along the route which will be tested for industrial chemicals, hormones, anti-depressants, sweeteners, antibiotics, painkillers, drugs, pathogens, and microplastics, among other substances. The event also aims to use the high level of public interest to raise awareness for the importance of water as a resource and the need for increased water protection.

Scienion and other partners contribute with different methods of testing the water quality. Scienion uses a novel microarray that is capable of detecting up to 150 microorganisms simultaneously. Testing includes waterborne pathogens and toxic algae as well as select bioindicators such as certain diatoms. The prototype of this chip had been developed with partners in the microAqua EU research project. Dr. Holger Eickhoff, CEO of SCIENION AG, states:

“We are very enthusiastic to take part in this exceptional project. ‘Rheines Wasser’ represents a first field study for our new microarray and I am excited about the results reflecting the allocation of microorganisms along the river Rhine. It will be also interesting to see if and how our results correlate with other methods of water quality testing employed in this project.”

After this field study, Scienion plans to market the microarray as a rapid, inexpensive and efficient test enabling monitoring surface water quality and biohazard detection in water.

However, Scienion’s commitment has not been limited to providing scientific experiments and equipment. After tracking the progress of Andreas Fath covering the distance since his swim start on July 28 in the media and on the project website, Scienion decided to visit the team at the interim destination Bonn on August 15. Eickhoff comments:

“It is unbelievable what Andreas and his team get realized. I just wanted to experience the atmosphere and ongoing experiments on site.”

Being a trained swimmer himself, Eickhoff furthermore joined Andreas Fath in swimming the last 10 km to Bonn. Andreas Fath stated:

“I enjoyed swimming with Holger. If the results of the µAqua test are as good as his swimming, it will become a big commercial success.”

Scienion AG and its US subsidiary Scienion US, Inc. provide systems and services for the contact-free printing of biological and chemical agents for diagnostics, pharmaceutics, veterinary, plant and food analytics and research. Addressing the dynamically increasing needs for miniaturization and multiplex analyses, Scienion offers a unique technology portfolio that has been continuously expanded over one decade. The company is a renowned specialist for ultra low volume liquid handling, particularly for the handling of precious and sensitive compounds of biological or chemical origin. The company operates from two sites in Germany, Dortmund, and Berlin, and has a subsidiary in New Jersey, USA.

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