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Quantifying Ascaris: Changing the Game in Sustainable Agriculture and in the Fight Against Parasitic Intestinal Diseases

Funding Year: 
North America
Research Areas: 
Food Security
Public Health

A common parasite threatens the health of millions of people and blocks the way to using wastewater biosolids as a cheap and sustainable agricultural fertilizer. Through the combination of state-of-the-art molecular probes with microfluidic techniques, this project will develop a rapid, sensitive method to detect and quantify the concentration of parasite eggs.

The parasitic intestinal worm Ascaris lumbricoides is a major health concern in the developing world. It infects more than 17 percent of the worlds population. Ascaris may be more common in the developed world than perceived, due to the global trade in produce, global travel and immigration. There is no reliable method of detecting Ascaris and its eggs in the environment or effluent.

The EVP teams technology will expedite research to understand the parasites life cycle and how it transmits its eggs. It will enable health professionals to identify and treat infected individuals and populations, as well as to create effective strategies for reduction of worm burden and egg inactivation. The technology also will facilitate the development of safe and effective agricultural practices using biosolids.

Principal Investigators:

Craig Criddle Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment