Blue-Green Algae Water Test
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What Is Blue Green Algae?
- Blue green algae is a group of organisms that are among the oldest on the planet. They can live in freshwater, salt-water or in mixed “brackish” water. Most of us know them as “pond scum.” The “blue-green” algae can surprisingly be many colors including red, orange, green, or brown. They also have been found to share some characteristics of bacteria, which has led to them being referred to as “cyanobacteria.”
What Is the Issue?
- Nutrient pollution is one of America's most widespread environmental problems. It is caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in the air and water. The nutrients are an important part of the aquatic ecosystem. They support the growth of aquatic plants and algae which provide food and habitat for fish and other organisms that live in water. BUT, what happens when too much nitrogen and phosphorus enter the environment? Too much of these nutrients in the water causes algae to grow faster than the ecosystems can handle. Significant increases in algae can harm the water quality, food resources, habitats, and decrease the oxygen supply. Large growths of algae blooms can decrease the amount of oxygen in the water which can lead to fish illness or death. Some of these blooms are even harmful to wildlife, pets, and humans because they can produce harmful toxins and bacterial growth.
Where Is It Found?
- Blue green algae is found in marine waters, as well as freshwater and brackish habitats. Under the right conditions, cyanobacteria can grow rapidly resulting in an algal bloom. Environmental factors such as light, temperature and nutrients contribute to bloom formation.
How Can My Dog Be Effected?
- Dogs are susceptible to harmful algae because they swallow more water while swimming and doing activities (such as retrieving a ball from the water). Animals can experience symptoms within minutes of exposure to the toxins. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, difficulty breathing, and seizures. In the worst cases, animals have died. If your pet experiences these symptoms after exposure to algae, contact your veterinarian.
The test uses a technique based off one of the most recent and breakthrough developments in hepatotoxin detection ⁽⁵⁸⁾. It utilizes a single-step, sandwich type, non-competitive immunocomplex assay method, using a combination of antibodies present in all common microcystins and nodularins.
This combination enables the test to detect eleven commonly occurring hepatotoxins ⁽ᴹᶜ⁻ᴸᴿ, ⁻ᵈᵐ¹ᴿ, ⁻ᴿᴿ, ⁻ᵈᵐᴿᴿ, ⁻ᴸᴬ, ⁻ᴸʸ, ⁻ᴸᶠ, ⁻ᴸᵂ, ⁻ʸᴿ, ⁻ᵂᴿ ᵃⁿᵈ ᴺᵒᵈ⁻ᴿ⁾ in a single test, and is able to detect levels below 0.1 µg/L.
However, where the BlueGreenTest® really shines is in it’s ability to detect large groups of low molecular weight (LMW) analytes. Traditionally, non-competitve assays have been limited to testing larger analytes which has restricted the ability to detect the broad range and ‘extremely complex assortment’ of low molecular weight cyanotoxins ⁽⁵⁹⁾. Some of LMW toxins are produced by strains of the most common and widespread cyanobacterial species in Australia (eg: Microcystic aeruginosa & Nodularia spumigena). Through the BlueGreenTest’s® revolutionary detection methodology, the highly specific and sensitive attributes of non-competitive assays are able to be utilized
Through utilizing recent improvements in LMW analysis, the BlueGreenTest® combines the highly specific and sensitive attributes of non-competitive assays together with the broad-scale molecular detection range to create a comprehensive and highly useful tool.
Unlike the complex, multi-step process of traditional immunoassays, the BlueGreenTest® utilises a single step in-vitro approach which takes just 10 minutes to process with immediate, sensitive and indicative results. Results are directly indicative of the current state of the tested water body, as the test can be carried out in-situ directly at the source. Outlined earlier, the test not only illustrates positive or negative readings via a fluorometry-based visual guide, but indicates the concentration of detected cyanotoxins. This is shown through the strength of the developed test line being directly proportional to an increase in cyanotoxin concentrations.
In a single test, and is able to detect levels between 1 µg/L – 100 µg/L (with the range expandable from 0.1 µg/L – 20 µg/L if necessary)
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