What OX-SIHA isThe OX-SIHA Project (INTEGRAL WATER SANITATION SYSTEM) is an European project co-financed by the SME Instrument, integrated in the HORIZON 2020 program of the European Commission. This project is carried out only by OX-CTA, being the main objective the development of an innovative water treatment system suitable for different areas. The planned duration of the project is two years and it will be setting a significant milestone in the water management sector.
The importance of water qualityWater quality always has either a direct or indirect impact on human and animal health. Nowadays, various treatments (physical, chemical and/or biological) are applied in order to eliminate microorganisms and decontaminate the water. However, there is considerable evidence that demonstrates a lack of efficacy in these treatments, which leads to the loss of significant amounts of money, and even numerous human lives. A total of 80% of gastrointestinal infections, and 75% of deaths caused by these conditions, are due to the use and consumption of contaminated water.
Acanthamoeba: An unknown pathogen
The boundaries between parasitic protozoa and free-living protozoa are minimal. Some free-living protozoa can be included in both categories, and can even be as destructive and infectious as parasitic protozoa in the strict sense. The free-living amoebae in this group include Acanthamoeba.
Acanthamoeba is found widely distributed in nature (> 90% aquatic environments). It is able to colonise very different niches thanks to the fact that it can survive in a wide range of osmolarity, temperature, salinity and pH conditions. It is able to adapt to extreme conditions such as the salinity of salt lakes or the low temperatures of Antarctica. The viability of Acanthamoeba cysts in water at 4°C is approximately 25 years.
It feeds on bacteria, fungi, viruses, other protozoa and some cyanobacteria. This interaction can be symbiosis or can cause the destruction of Acanthamoeba or the other organism. Various types of interactions have been observed:
• Microorganisms which multiply inside the amoeba and cause lysis (Legionella and Listeria).
• Microorganisms which multiply inside the amoeba without causing lysis (Vibrio cholerae).
• Microorganisms which survive inside the amoebae, but do not multiply (Coliforms and Mycobacteria).
Acanthamoeba: Trojan Horse
Acanthamoeba is one of the main natural reservoirs of bacteria in aquatic environments, and is also one of the main bacterial resistance strategies to the usual antimicrobial treatments. Pathogenic bacteria which are a risk to public health: Legionella, E. coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella, S. aureus and Listeria, use the Acanthamoeba-bacteria association as a resistance mechanism, converting Acanthamoeba into a potentially pathogenic organism. For example: Listeria monocytogenes is able to infect Acanthamoeba polyphaga cells, leading to an increase in the number of bacteria after 3 days by 1-2 logarithmic cycles.
Legionella is an intracellular pathogen which multiplies inside the alveolar macrophages. When found outside humans, the natural host it uses is Acanthamoeba. Once Acanthamoeba phagocytoses to Legionella, this escapes from the lysosomal activity to multiply in the cytoplasm until it causes lysis of the protozoa, releasing viable bacteria into the environment after 36-48 hours. Inside the Acanthamoeba, a vesicle measuring 10 µm in diameter can contain up to around 10,000 Legionella cells. Prior contact of Legionella with Acanthamoeba appears to give Legionella a series of characteristics which facilitate its survival in human hosts, as well as greater resistance to biocidal agents.
Acanthamoeba has also been found to participate as a reservoir of various viruses such as Adenovirus, Enterovirus and Mimivirus. Acanthamoeba is also able to phagocytose Cryptosporidium oocysts and slowly eliminate them into the environment, with the biosafety risks this entails.
To whom it is addressedWater is a basic necessity for social development and economical world growth. An intelligent water management supports healthcare, decreases pollution and respects the environment. It also fuels economical growth, creates jobs and reduces sanitary risks.
- Public Health
- Animal Health
- Plant Health Defence
The innovative nature of the Total Water Sanitation System OX-SIHA is based on different points.
To develop an effective, ecological (100% biodegradable) and economically feasible biocide procedure, capable of guaranteeing the complete water hygienization.
Minimum environmental impact
Implementation of a risk assessment system allowing water treatment process to be adapted according to the real needs at each particular moment, ensuring the maximum effectiveness of the sanitation process with a minimum environmental impact.
Accordance with the current regulation
The development of an automatic water management system in order to guarantee the monitoring, control and trazability of the water treatment. It will be possible to demonstrate at any time that the treatment is being carried under the strictest healthcare and environment protection standards.
To develop an “in situ” microbial detection kit based on the the most advanced molecular biology techniques, capable of detecting the most important protozoa in the aquatic environment.
To develop a catalyst system that guarantees the accelerated degradation of all the biocidal substances used. The main objective is to reach the total elimination of harmful residues in order to guarantee zero residues.
The development of integrated technological solutions involving execution, monitoring, control and traceability in order to allow an intelligent water management.
“In situ” analysis
To take advantage of the molecular biology researching progresses, to be used on an “in situ” water analysis. On the basis of the DNA of the specimen, reliable results will be obtained in a short time.
The innovation in the biocide formula for environmentally-sustainable products that also allows the total hygienization of water, including effectiveness against protozoa.
The protection of the environment through the adaptation and optimization of the last generation catalysing systems that guarantees the complete absence of harmful residues.