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Hydrochip: Water quality monitoring using DNA. Layman's report

STOWA, TNO, Vitens, Waternet and Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier have conducted a European Life+ project for the further development of the Hydrochip from 2012 to 2017. It is a molecular technology that could quickly, reliable and cost effective determine the biodiversity and ecological quality of surface waters. This could be an attractive alternative to conventional biological monitoring techniques. In this Layman's report, the most important results of this project are done.

The investigation has shown that, in practice, Hydrochip does not yet produce the distinctive results that are important for a reliable assessment of ecological water quality. Improving the validation requires additional investments, while the probability of success is uncertain, according to the researchers. In addition, a major competitive DNA technology is now available: Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). This technique is faster than the Hydrochip, less error-sensitive and has a wider range of applications. The Hydrochip project has however contributed to increasing attention for the use of DNA technology in water quality monitoring.