Testing for contamination of the ever so popular glyphosate based herbicide "Roundup" in water is a service that many labs provide, one of them is the Microbe Inotec Laboratory . They use an enzyme to check for levels of of contamination in ppb, which, I'm sure, is rather a complicated process.

My question is, is there any way to test for it more easily, without finding the actual amount of glyphosate but only checking whether it's present or not?


The proposed method above most likely uses ELISA (enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay). In most modern labs, ELISA is quite a standard procedure, however, each assay is easily worth a couple hundred dollars.

Another method of detection is using HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography), however those machines can run upwards of a couple hundred thousand dollars and each test is expensive as well.

The EPA has a protocol which they used to detect glyophosphate contamination in water: https://www.bucksci.com/catalogs/EPA%20Method%20-%20547%20-%20GLYPHOSATE%20IN%20DRINKING%20water%20by%20isocratic%20HPLC%20with%20flourecense%20detector.pdf

What may be of interest to you is an article from the journal of the Royal Chemical Society in which they published an article where they used gold nanoparticles to detect presence of glyphosphate using the naked eye or UV light.


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  • $\begingroup$ Cyteamine functionalized gold particles sounds very interesting, do you know anything more about it? or, rather, could you tell me more about it? Can't access the study in its entirety. $\endgroup$ – Uffe Apr 2 '14 at 15:12

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