The Aquagenx Compartment Bag Test (CBT) is a portable water quality test that allows users to determine if drinking water contains E. coli bacteria. The test does not require electricity, cold chain, laboratories, trained technicians or specialized equipment. Water quality testing and monitoring are done in a few steps that generate quantified, color change results.
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Market Suggested Retail Price
Target Users (Target Impact Group)
Distributors / Implementing Organizations
Implementing organizations are customers of Aquagenx and include agencies such as: International Federation of Red Cross and Operation Blessing International.
Direct competitors include Hach Drinking Water Test Kit.
Intellectural Property Type
User Provision Model
Available for purchase via the Aquagenx site. Volume-based pricing is applied for CBT Kits. The kit is sold complete, not by individual test. A quotation request form is required to be filled by the customer.
Distributions to Date Status
Aquagenx has sold tens of thousands of CBTs that are used around the world. Interview with representative
The CBT Kit is portable, compact and self-contained and includes built-in sample decontamination in the form of chlorine tablets. The CBT quantifies the Most Probable Number (MPN) of E. coli bacteria in a 100 ml water sample according to World Health Organization and US Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for safe drinking water. The steps for using the CBT are: 1. Collect Sample, 2. Mix Medium 3. Pour into Bag 4. Incubate 20-48 hours 4. Score Results Instruction and a video on how to use the CBT is available. The contents of CBT I Kit are: Aquagenx CBT EC+TC (100 MPN samples) Seal clips for Aquagenx Compartment Bag (25) Barcode asset tags (100) Arsenic tests (100) Fluoride meter (1) Fluoride reagents (100) pH/Conductivity/TDS meter (1) Stopwatch (2) Collapsible 20 liter bucket (1) Tape measure (1) 500 mL plastic sample bottle (1) Sturdy backpack (1) Kit Dimensions: 8 x 7.5 x 4.5 in; Kit Weight: 1 lb 9 oz
Provided by Aquagenx
Not available for replacement
Kit shelf life is based on the viability of the E. coli medium for which shelf life is one year from date of manufacture.
Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters
The CBT quantifies the Most Probable Number (MPN) of E. coli bacteria in a 100 ml water sample according to World Health Organization and US Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for safe drinking water. The CBT gives results on par with more complicated, expensive and less portable tests.
Vetted Performance Status
Testing in Ghana, by MIT and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – Water Quality Bureau, demonstrated that the CBT gave the highest ratings overall, for the E.coli results. Testing in Peru by University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health et al showed: (1) No significant differences between CBT test in the field, the CBT in the laboratory and the membrane filtration method in the laboratory for E.coli detection in household drinking waters in geographically diverse areas and (2) Previously untrained survey staff are able to obtain statistically comparable results to laboratory technicians and ranked the CBT a 9.3 out of 10 for overall use.
Decontamination of samples is required before disposal. The decontamination procedure is as follows: • Open bag and add 3 chlorine tablets to top of bag. Agitate bag until chlorine tablets dissolve. Let bag stand for 45 minutes. • After 45 minutes, pour liquid contents into a sink, toilet or hole in the ground and safely dispose of the empty bag
Complementary Technical Systems
For temperatures below 25°C, use of an insulated container or portable incubator is recommended during the incubation period.
Academic Research and References
Murcotta, S. et al., 2015, Evaluation of Microbial Water Quality Tests for Humanitarian Emergency and Development Settings, Humanitarian Technology: Science, Systems and Global Impact 2015, HumTech2015, Procedia Engineering: Volume 107, pp. 237–246.
McMahan, L. & Wang, A., et al., Evaluation of household microbial water quality testing in a Pilot Peruvian Demographic and Health Survey using the portable Compartment Bag Test (CBT) for E. coli, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health [poster]
Knee, J. et al., Field Evaluation of a Low-cost Compartmentalized Bag MPN Method for the Detection and Quantification of E. coli in Stored Household Rainwater Samples Collected in Northeastern Thailand
Stauber, C., Miller, C, Cantrell, B. and Kroell, K., 2014, Evaluation of the Compartment Bag Test for the Detection of Escherichia coli in Water., J Microbiol Methods.
Weiss, P. et al., Microbial Quality and Safety of Well Water in Rural Nicaragua as Determined by Low-Cost Bacterial Test, School of Public Health, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University [poster]
Compliance with regulations
The CBT meets World Health Organization water quality recommendations for indicator organism (E. coli) and sample volume (100 mL).
Lab Evaluation of the E. coli Chromogenic Medium of the CBT versus Colilert Medium in Compartment Bag MPN Test Format: Lab performance data were collected in a university lab by college students who were trained to conduct the Compartment Bag Test (CBT). The 600 samples of water in this dataset were split into groups tested as 100-mL sample volumes and analyzed using (1) the CBT and Hi-E.coli chromogenic medium and (2) the CBT and Colilert medium. Both tests reported E. coli concentration as an MPN/100 mL. Within each test group, 180 samples were made at the 50 mL dilution and 120 samples were made at the 10 mL dilution. For each test group and within each dilution level, the incubation temperature of the water samples was divided among the three temperatures of 27° C, 37° C, and 44° C. For each incubation temperature-sample dilution combination, the 10 mL dilution had a sample size of 40 and the 50 mL dilution had a sample size of 60. All samples were tested in CBT compartment bags, so MPN counts for Colilert are equivalent to MPN counts for CBTs.