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The University of Texas at Arlington, alumnus sign sponsored research agreement

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Friday, March 6, 2009

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Media Contact: Sue Stevens

ARLINGTON - Two University of Texas at Arlington science professors are undertaking sponsored research to assist Chipotle Business Group Inc. develop new testing technologies for the rapid detection of multiple contaminants in water.

Purnendu K. "Sandy" Dasgupta, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Michael R. Roner, assistant professor of biology, will work with entrepreneur Scott Evans, a 2000 UT Arlington Honors Bachelor of Business Administration graduate and president and chief executive officer of Chipotle Business Group Inc.

On March 5, the Chipotle Business Group was awarded a grant up to $1 million from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (ETF) for the commercialization of portable detection units for comprehensive water analysis. The grant provides $250,000 upfront with the remainder available after designated milestones are met.

Dasgupta will build an optical detector for simultaneous measurement of various physical-chemical properties or contamination in water. Evans said the speed, accuracy and simplicity of the new technology can be compared to a pool water test kit. But the new device will detect multiple water quality properties simultaneously.

Roner's research will provide proof-of-concept for a patent-pending intellectual property developed by Chipotle that will test for the presence of microscopic organisms, such as E. coli that occur in contaminated water and have major implications for human health. It could reduce the time required for testing for the presence of these organisms, for example, to about 30 minutes.

"This significant reduction in testing time would allow timely notification and closing of contaminated beaches and waterways, thus reducing the probability of illness in swimmers," Evans said. Other potential beneficiaries of Chipotle's technologies include the produce industry, water utilities and regulatory agencies. The benefits will increase exponentially in developing nations in the world, Evans said.

E-mail Scott Evans at for more information.


The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.

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