Rapid response to cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CyanoHABs)
The recent increase in CyanoHABs has caused worldwide concern regarding the impact of cyanotoxins on humans and ecosystems. Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) are frequently found in freshwater systems that under certain conditions produce dense mats and cyanotoxins. Such harmful blooms cause environmental problems, disrupt drinking water supplies, recreational activities (swimming, fishing, boating) and water-dependent industries, and pose a risk to livestock, wildlife and human health. Orvion Udetect® can be used to test for the presence and numbers of cyanotoxin genes of microcystins (mcyE), anatoxins*, cylindrospermopsins* and saxitoxins*, representing the most common cyanotoxins around the world1.

* Analyses in development

Conventional methods take on average 1-2 days to analyze the presence of cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins2. Udetect reduced this response time up to 90 %, providing the results in less than 2 hours and without the complicated sample logistics of lab-based methods. This provides opportunities for faster response and more time to prevent outbreaks. If the cyanotoxin genes are identified, the technology is intended to be used in combination with conventional techniques helping to provide a faster and more accurate call of action.

Predict outbrakes one week in advance?
In the Toxic Cyanobacteria Water guide, the WHO (2021)3  recognizes the qPCR method as an economically efficient technique for cyanotoxin analysis to support the identification of potential toxic bloom formation in waterbodies. The use of qPCR for detection of cyanotoxins (in values >0.3μg/L) has demonstrated added value as a one-week early warning system for the prevention of outbreaks4. qPCR for cyanotoxins genes, such as mcyE, have been shown to have a high accuracy (60%4, 89%2, and even 100 %5) when compared to ELISA results, meaning outbreaks can be detected faster and at an earlier stage.
References
  1. Svirčev, Z., Lalić, D., Bojadžija, G., Nada, S., Damjana, T., & Backović, D. (2019). Global geographical and historical overview of cyanotoxin distribution and cyanobacterial poisonings. In Archives of Toxicology.
  2. STOWA (2020). Risicobeoordeling Blauwalgen in zwemwater.
  3. Chorus, I, Welker M; eds. (2021). Toxic Cyanobacteria in Water, 2nd edition. CRC Press, Boca Raton (FL), on behalf of the World Health Organization, Geneva, CH.
  4. Lu, J., Struewing, I., Wymer, L., Tettenhorst, D. R., Shoemaker, J., & Allen, J. (2021). Use of qPCR and RT-qPCR for Monitoring Variations of Microcystin Producers and as an Early Warning System to Predict Toxin Production in an Ohio Inland Lake. EPA Public Access. 1–29.
  5. Pearson, L. A., & Neilan, B. A. (2008). The molecular genetics of cyanobacterial toxicity as a basis for monitoring water quality and public health risk. Science direct.

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