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 world’s 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 team’s technology will expedite research to understand the parasite’s 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.