MSABI trials hydrogen sulphide water quality field tests

 MSABI is conducting research into the application of the hydrogen sulphide field test for water quality. The test was developed in India 30 years ago and is simple and affordable to make. The test detects hydrogen sulphide producing bacteria that are associated with faecal contamination. The test is incubated at ambient temperature and as bacteria produce hydrogen sulphide a distinct black colour develops. After the initial optimisation stage MSABI will take the tests into the field to be trialled by community members. The ultimate aim is to have an affordable test available to community members who want to test their water quality and to have a demonstration tool for the MSABI education team.
The hydrogen sulphide media is made up of common chemicals including kitchen dish washing detergent. The media is the brown liquid in the bottle on the left.
The media can either be added directly to the test bottle or absorbed onto paper then added.
The bottle on the left has no bacteria (negative control) while the bottle on the right has hydrogen sulphide producing bacteria present. Note the distinct black colour produced.
Over a range of bacterial concentrations the test develops as different rates. After 24 hours incubation with 5 mL of media. From left to right: Bottle 1 = negative control, Bottle 2 = 10 bacteria/ 100 mL, Bottle 3 = 500 bacteria/ 100 mL, Bottle 4 = 10000 bacteria/ 100 mL.