The interaction of Cryptosporidium with aquatic biofilm systems
This project aims to determine
(1) whether Cryptosporidium development can occur under the very low nutrient conditions found in drinking water and
(2) whether certain bacteria produce biofilms that better support Cryptosporidium extracellular development than others. Small scale multi-channel flow cells systems using a range of bacterial biofilms will be established with Cryptosporidium oocysts (Koh et al., 2013). These biofilms will then be characterised by confocal microscopy, qPCR, and flow cytometry. The multi-channel flow cell system was chosen as a mobile glass slide will allow for the localisation and imaging of Cryptosporidium within biofilms in situ without the need to disturb the 3 dimensional biofilms structure. This research is highly relevant to industries that are impacted by water quality. Cryptosporidiosis outbreaks have been associated with both drinking and recreational water and this has resulted in intense interest from the water treatment, amusement park and cruise ship industries.