The study details the development of a fully validated, rapid and portable sensor based method for the on-site analysis of microcystins in freshwater samples. The process employs a novel lysis method for the mechanical lysis of cyanobacterial cells, with glass beads and a handheld frother in only 10min. The assay utilises an innovative planar waveguide device that, via an evanescent wave excites fluorescent probes, for amplification of signal in a competitive immunoassay, using an anti-microcystin monoclonal with cross-reactivity against the most common, and toxic variants. Validation of the assay showed the limit of detection (LOD) to be 0.78ngmL and the CCß to be 1ngmL. Robustness of the assay was demonstrated by intra- and inter-assay testing. Intra-assay analysis had % C.V.s between 8 and 26% and recoveries between 73 and 101%, with inter-assay analysis demonstrating % C.V.s between 5 and 14% and recoveries between 78 and 91%. Comparison with LC-MS/MS showed a high correlation (R=0.9954) between the calculated concentrations of 5 different Microcystis aeruginosa cultures for total microcystin content. Total microcystin content was ascertained by the individual measurement of free and cell-bound microcystins. Free microcystins can be measured to 1ngmL, and with a 10-fold concentration step in the intracellular microcystin protocol (which brings the sample within the range of the calibration curve), intracellular pools may be determined to 0.1ngmL. This allows the determination of microcystins at and below the World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline value of 1µgL. This sensor represents a major advancement in portable analysis capabilities and has the potential for numerous other applications.