Café des Sciences: Lives in Our Water

Collaborating with rqmicro AG and Miss. Xueying Mao, the tenth CdS event will expand on modern analytical methods that help us detect and isolate microbes in drinking water.

For the tenth Café des Sciences, we have invited Xueying MAO, the Chief Representative of rqmicro AG China Office.

Rqmicro AG, which stands for rapid and quantitative microbiology, is a spin-off of ETH Zurich and Eawag. Embracing the vision that people worldwide can benefit from safer water and food, rqmicro aims to develop solutions that detect bacterial contamination in an extremely fast and reliable way. Miss Mao will not only go over the science behind microbes in our daily lives, especially in the water we drink constantly, but also showcase rqmicro technologies, which has successfully reduced the detection time of Legionella (a dangerous pathogenic group of Gram-negative bacteria) from 7 days to merely 2 hours, 1% of what it originally took.

Do you know there are 20 million microbes living in a glass (250 mL) of drinking water?

Do you know couples who live together start to look alike because they start to share body bacteria?

Do you know partly why you like chocolate is that it keeps the probiotics (the good ones) in your digestive tract healthy and happy?

Look closely enough at any plant or animal and you will discover a riot of bacteria, fungi and viruses forming a complex and interconnected ecosystem. In fact, microbes are the answer to many big questions in our life. Mankind has existed on earth since about 200 thousand years ago, while bacteria have been widespread for more than 3.5 billion years. That is 200,000 vs. 3,500,000,000, with the former accounting to just around 0.06% of the latter.

To a great extend, you are determined by your own micro-biome, which is a sophisticated and unique system made up of trillions of microbes. Modern technology has made it possible for us to reveal our world better on the microbiological level. Miss Mao will dive deep into the knowledge as well as the technology to unveil important questions such as: how many microbes are in our tap water? Why is it important to detect pathogenic microbes? What are the technological tools we have to guarantee water safety?


Event Rundown


18:00-18:30                  Registration


18:30-18:35                  Welcome Speech
by Dr. Felix Moesner, Science Consul & CEO, Swissnex in China


18:35-19:15                   Presentation
by Miss Xueying Mao, Chief Representative of rqmicro AG China Office


19:15-19:35                   Q&A Session


19:35-20:30                 Networking Reception


rqmicro AG

rqmicro AG, which stands for rapid and quantitative microbiology, is a spin-off of ETH Zurich and Eawag. The company was founded in 2013, and closed its series-A financing in year 2016. Today it has more than 20 full-time team members working in Switzerland and China.

rqmicro embraces the vision that consumers worldwide can benefit from safer water and food. To realize this goal, rqmicro develops products and solutions that detect bacterial contamination in water and food in an extremely fast and reliable way.

As mentioned above, the bacteria Legionella (a kind of dangerous bacteria existing in water systems) used to take at least 7 days to get a laboratory test report. Now, with rqmicro’s novel solution, an accurate test result is available within 2 hours. The much-reduced waiting time allows facility managers take actions in no time, and may help to save hundreds of lives in a case of Legionella outbreak. Partners like Berlin Water Company and ThyssenKrupp have already adapted rqmicro’s solution into their water quality monitoring and risk management routines.

In early 2018, rqmicro entered Chinese market and opened an office in Shanghai. Starting from 2019, rqmicro has been working together with China CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) on a 2-year project to validate its innovative method for rapid Legionella and Salmonella testing in water samples. In the long run, rqmicro is working towards the direction to get its method accredited by authorities such as ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and AOAC (Association of Official Analytical Chemists).

Café des Sciences

Café des Sciences is a new format at Swissnex in China offering a monthly platform for Swiss Spotlight Scientists and Start-ups to present their projects and connect with the local community. The lectures will offer a casual setting in which speakers can present their work and engage with the attendees during a Q&A period. Audiences are welcomed to enjoy the networking reception with Swiss flavour after the talk. The lecture is scheduled to take place every third Thursday each month at Swissnex in China or our partner spaces.

  • Café des Sciences