Remote, subsurface detection of the algal toxin domoic acid onboard the Environmental Sample Processor: Assay development and field trials

Gregory Doucette, C.M. Mikulski, K. Jones, Kristen King, Dianne Greenfield, Roman Marin, S. Jensen, B. Roman, Christopher Elliott, C.A. Scholin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ability to detect harmful algal bloom (HAB) species and their toxins in real- or near real-time is a critical need for researchers studying HAB/toxin dynamics, as well as for coastal resource managers charged with monitoring bloom populations in order to mitigate their wide ranging impacts. The Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), a robotic electromechanical/fluidic system, was developed for the autonomous, subsurface application of molecular diagnostic tests and has successfully detected several HAB species using DNA probe arrays during field deployments. Since toxin production and thus the potential for public health and ecosystem effects varies considerably in natural phytoplankton populations, the concurrent detection of HAB species and their toxins onboard the ESP is essential. We describe herein the development of methods for extracting the algal toxin domoic acid (DA) from Pseudonitzschia cells (extraction efficiency >90%) and testing of samples using a competitive ELISA onboard the ESP. The assay detection limit is in the low ng/mL range (in extract), which corresponds to low ng/L levels of DA in seawater for a 0.5 L sample volume acquired by the ESP. We also report the first in situ detection of both a HAB organism (i.e., Pseudo-nitzschia) and its toxin, domoic acid, via the sequential (within 2-3 h) conduct of species- and toxin-specific assays during ESP deployments in Monterey Bay, CA, USA. Efforts are now underway to further refine the assay and conduct additional calibration exercises with the aim of obtaining more reliable, accurate estimates of bloom toxicity and thus their potential impacts. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)880-888
Number of pages9
JournalHarmful Algae
Volume8
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science

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