Posted by: xplainblog | February 14, 2010

Using Bacteria to Monitor Water Safety

We would all like to think that the water that comes out of our tap is safe to drink. However, with an expanding world population, pesticide runoff, pollution, and threats of terrorism, we cannot take the safety of our water supply for granted. Various methods have been developed to test for specific contaminants, but a good general qualitative test for the presence of contaminants has been lacking.

CheckLight Ltd ( located in Tivon, Israel has leveraged the power of luminescent bacteria to serve as a warning system for water contaminants.

Basic research discoveries indicated that luminescent bacteria react to the presence of a wide range of contaminants in the water by changes in their luminescence. CheckLight has exploited this fact to produce portable kits and permanent stations for detecting the presence of water contaminants. Once the presence of a contaminant has been detected, additional testing can be performed to establish the identity of the specific contaminant.

CheckLight was founded in 2001 by Dr. Nirit Ulitzur, whose father, Professor Shimon Ulitzur, performed the basic research that lead to the commercial use of the luminescent bacteria. Checklight was chosen by the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection to supply emergency water testing kits to the earthquake stricken region of Sichuan in 2008, and to protect the water supply for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. In early 2008 WhiteWater, a leading Israeli water technologies company, became a strategic investor in CheckLight.


  1. I am glad to see that something that we did all those years ago at Biolume is still in use.

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