In-Field Device for the Autonomous Detection of Harmful Algal Bloom Toxigenic Species and Toxins

Period of Performance: 01/01/2005 - 12/31/2005


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Lynntech, Inc.
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


Harmful algal blooms (HABs) cost the U.S. economy ~$50 million per year. Early detection of blooms and a rapid response by state and federal resource managers are the most effective ways to mitigate the impacts of HABs. However, methods for detecting HAB species and their toxins are laborious, time-consuming and require expensive equipment. To overcome these problems, Lynntech proposes to build an automated field instrument for detecting toxigenic HAB organisms and their toxins from mixed phytoplankton assemblages. The detection method will be innovative, cost-effective, rapid, accurate, and quantitative. Direct oxidation of guanine residues of ribosomal RNAs lysed from algae cells captured by species-specific probes immobilized onto an electrode will provide the necessary sensitivity without target or signal amplification. Also, an innovative, inexpensive device will be used for biotoxin detection. The final systm can potentially be installed on moored buoy or ship-deployed vehicles for automated monitoring with real-time data access capability.