Automated online monitoring of fecal pollution in water by enzymatic methods

Katalin Demeter, Jean Baptiste Burnet, Philipp Stadler, Alexander Kirschner, Matthias Zessner, Andreas H. Farnleitner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Review article

9 Citations (Scopus)


To facilitate the prompt management of public health risks from water resources, the fluorescence-based detection of the enzymatic activity of β-D-glucuronidase (GLUC) has been suggested as a rapid method to monitor fecal pollution. New technological adaptations enable now its automated, near-real-time measurement in a robust and analytically precise manner. Large data sets of high temporal or spatial resolution have been reported from a variety of freshwater resources, demonstrating the great potential of this automated method. However, the fecal indication capacity of GLUC activity and the potential link to health risk is still unclear, presenting considerable limitations. This review provides a critical evaluation of automated, online GLUC-based methods (and alternatives) and defines open questions to be solved before the method can fully support water management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-91
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Opinion in Environmental Science and Health
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • E. coli
  • Fecal indicator bacteria
  • Fecal pollution
  • Rapid enzymatic methods
  • Water safety
  • β-d-Glucuronidase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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