Hydrochip Technology

This project entails the demonstration of Hydrochip technology for surface water monitoring based on DNA technology.

The Water Framework Directive prescribes how water quality should be assessed within EU member states. For ecology, these consist of assessments of both plants and animals present in surface water and on the riverbanks.

In order to determine the ecological status of surface waters with algae populations, in many countries diatoms (a major group of algae) are also used as an indicator. Currently, these single-celled plants are assessed via microscopic examination. This method is time-consuming, relatively expensive, and inflexible. Moreover, because it takes time for the samples to be analysed and to generate actual results, it is not possible to control water quality.

The Hydrochip project aims to demonstrate that it is possible to assess water quality by using DNA recognition of species. For this purpose, a chip has been designed to which DNA probes of species of diatoms have been attached. If these species are also present in the water sample, this will be displayed on the chip.

The LIFE+ project works with a practical application for water managers, allowing the water quality to be determined in water managers’ laboratories in a relatively simple and cost-effective way. Because the time between sampling and the results of the analysis is limited, it is possible to respond more quickly to signals of changing water quality or to detect incidents.


  • TNO
  • Vitens
  • Waternet
  • Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier



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