Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


SMS Report Summary

Project ID: 613844
Funded under: FP7-KBBE
Country: Italy

Periodic Report Summary 2 - SMS (Sensing toxicants in Marine waters makes Sense using biosensors)

Project Context and Objectives:
SMS delivers a novel automated networked system that enables real-time in situ monitoring of marine water chemicals in coastal areas by the detection of a series of contaminants regulated by the MSFD. SMS designs a multi-modular apparatus that hosts in a single unit—the Main Box (MB)—a Sampling Module and an Analysis Module. The former contains sample collection and treatment components, whereas the latter includes four biosensor sub-modules that enable detection and measurement of toxic algal species and their associated toxins, several hazardous compounds (tributyltin, diuron and pentaBDPE), sulphonamides and a series of standard water quality parameters. The MB is equipped with a communication module for real-time data transfer to a control center, where data processing takes place, enabling alarm functionality to Health Warning Systems. All work will culminate in showcasing the project’s three demonstration sites: La Spezia, Italy, Slovenian Adriatic Sea and Alonissos marine park in Greece. The technology development and the test cases are at the core of this effort, bringing together a multi-disciplinary and multi-sectorial team of experts exchanging knowledge with end users and relevant marine water stakeholders. The work is structured around three building blocks that interact with each other, whereas each block contains individual work packages: The first block deals with sensor development and adaptation for field use and includes WPs 1 through 4, with each WP developing independently a different type of biosensor, targeting a different pollutant group. Thus, WP1 focuses on the development of optical sensors for four marine algal toxins (saxitoxin, palitoxin and okadaic and domoic acids), which are found in seawater in concentration levels of ng/l and accumulate in seafood, presenting serious threat to human health, because they can easily enter the food chain. WP2 focuses on the development of a biocide detection microfluidic platform using nanotechnology principles to detect the relevant-to-marine-transport chemical tributyltin before it was definitively banned as a biocidal compound in antifouling ship paints. Using the same techniques, it develops platforms for the herbicide Diuron and the flame retardant pentabromodiphenyl ether (pentaBDE). WP3 focuses on the development of an electrochemical sensor for the pharmaceutical product Sulphonamide—one of the most frequently described antibiotics—found in human and animal excretion and ending up in treated municipal wastewater discharged to the sea. Finally, WP4 focuses on the construction of a new ALGADEC apparatus to detect toxic algal species in order to include more species and to miniaturize and field-test the biosensor. Traditional water quality parameters, such as temperature, pH, conductivity, Dissolved Oxygen (D.O.) and nutrients will also be measured because they are already available for use on the buoy systems in our project. The second building block of this work plan is “system integration for field use” and includes 3 WPs each focusing on the development of units and prototypes that will achieve the electronic engineering integration of all different modules developed in the first block together with a sampling device that will automatically collect, filter and pre-concentrate samples preparing them for in situ analysis and allocation to the unit prototypes. Real-time data collection will be realized through a wireless transmission system that will include a low-cost embedded device with processing and communication capabilities that will enable communication with the Central Node over the Internet. Data will be processed and screened and relevant alarms will be issued to the authorities, interested stakeholders and end users for any concentrations observed above regulated limits. The third building block will concentrate on validation in laboratory and field tests. In this important step, the modules built will be validated for successful functioning in the laboratory and will then be mounted onto a buoy or a platform to be deployed at the three demonstration sites of SMS. At all times, project management will interact with all partners involved ensuring seamless collaborations and on-time reporting to the EU, whereas exploitation, training, dissemination activities and intellectual property management will be successfully conducted as milestones of SMS are achieved and deliverables are delivered.

Project Results:
SMS progress report first period: WP1 consisted in developing an optical aptamer sensor for the detection of saxitoxin and a flow through system for the detection of okadaic acid. Progress in WP2 consisted in the development of sensors for the measurements of the pesticides and flame retardants. WP3 has developed an electrochemical and optical sensors for sulphonamide detection. WP4 A probe design for 21 probes/species algae was designed. For sampling and pre-concentration activities which is the WP5, the first prototype was designed. Progress in WP6 consisted of a portable analyzer for sulphonamides and okadaic acid. WP7 in collaboration with SYSTEA, proceeded with the development of the communication protocol. The main activities in WP8 started during the 19th month, after the development of the biosensors. WP9 activities were mainly provided for months 25#45.
SMS second period: during the second period progresses are reported: WP1 The main results are (1) A colorimetric assay based on the protein phosphatase-2A inhibition for Okadaic Acid detection has been developed and automated in a prototype produced by Systea; (2) Enzyme Linked Immuno-Magnetic Colorimetric assays for Okadaic Acid (OA), Saxitoxin (STX) and Domoic Acid (DA) detection have been developed. WP2: ICN2 partner has progressed towards objectives related to (a) Development of microfluidic platforms based on polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) technologies, (b) Set-up of the optical detection platforms and (c) Set-up of the electrochemical detection systems (as detailed below). WP3 During the second period, a study of the effect of the type of cartridges on the extraction of sulphonamides was performed. Indeed, a series of experiments were performed using C18, Strata-x, and Oasis HLB for Seawater samples fortified with a low concentration level of sulphonamides. The results showed that Oasis HLB cartridges are the best choice for sulphonamides extraction in seawater samples. WP4 During the second period different detection methods for the detection of toxin algae were tested and in agreement with partner SYSTEA the colorimetric detection was chosen so that the whole analytical procedure could be adapted and integrated into their microMAC analyser system. The toxic algae prototype is being tested in laboratory conditions in collaboration with SYSTEA and will be deployed for the field tests in the coming months. WP5 During the second period the work on the first preliminary prototype started based on the findings from work on different subtopics such as pre-concentration on solid phase (SPE) extraction columns, water sample filtration, evaporation of organic solvents and fluidics based on a Hamilton syringe pump with an 8-port rotary valve and a number of different solenoid valves. Manual control of the different components was carried out from a PAD by wireless connection prototype automation is still in progress. WP6 In the second period the following instrumental prototypes are already available: (1) modular instrumental prototype for sulfonammide; (2) in-situ probe prototype for sulfonammide: the HW is developed and the probe was tested by UTH partner; (3) WIZ in-situ nutrients (NH3, NO3, NO2 and PO4) probe still under field test by NIB; (4) modular prototype for Okadaic acid measurement using the enzymatic method; (5) the modular prototype for algal toxins detection; (6) modular prototype for PBDE / glyphosate detection;(7) modular prototype for specific toxic algae species using the biomagnetic assay. WP7 During this year several steps have been made in order to meet the requirements for the communication system. UTH has developed a prototype communication device to be installed on SMS buoys and floating platforms. WP8 ENEA, in the meantime, implemented reference analytical methods for most of the SMS target analytes and field tested passive sampling techniques to be used as quality control in the field deployment phase. QC samples are in preparation to independently check the performance of the sensing systems developed in SMS partner laboratories. WP9 Since the prototypes (biosensors) are still under development there was the opportunity to install the WIZ probe produced by partner company Systems Technology Advance S.p.A. (SYS; WP6 group). WIZ probe is an automated sequential chemistry online probe that measures nutrients (nitrite, nitrate, phosphate, and ammonium) in situ and has similar requirements for installation to other biosensors (in the development phase). WP 10 SMS partners undertook dissemination activities including, updating the website, managing social media accounts, participating to fairs and conferences, publishing scientific papers, sending press releases and newsletter, meeting stakeholders and policymakers. WP11 Project management implemented as foreseen in order to secure a smooth implementation of the project. All deliverables were prepared and submitted to the EC.

Potential Impact:
The expected final results are the followings: for the WP1 a multi-biosensor for the detection of marine algal toxins and a method of analysis of marine toxins to be applied in laboratory in seawaters have been developed. For the WP2, a nanostructurated platforms for optical/electrochemical detection of pesticides and BFR agents have been developed together with a novel strategies for fast and efficient detection of pesticides and BFR in seawater. For WP3 an optical sensor for sulfonamide has been developed, validated and inserted in the Main Box and tested in sea water. For the WP4, a new design of a ALGADEC has been prepared and a signal output has been detected and now is under validation. Also a sampling device to collect seawater samples and to preconcentrate the analytes has been constructed and is under testing (WP5). In the WP6 the sensors are integrated in the modular microfluidic system to develop automated measurement prototypes for marine toxins, algal toxins, pesticides and flame retardants. The WP7 has developed a communication protocol that enable remote access and monitoring of the collected data from the buoy and adapt this system to the Main Box. The WP8 has developed nanostructured platforms for pesticides, BFR agents, marine toxins and sulfonamides for testing and validation. Testing of the prototype modules in sea water and the stability of prototype in field conditions is in progress. WP9 has contributed in deliver communication and dissemination activities related to the project.
Management and economic impact:
Concerning the management and the economic impact the progress has been monitored during this 36th activity to guarantee adherence of the work to the overall project plans. The high quality of the project outcomes has been close monitored for all the activities of the partners. Risks and feasibility of the contingency plans have been identified on order to better coordinate the research activity and the annual meetings and the events that occurred during this period. The social and economical impact resulted high because all the SMEs involved in the project are taking benefits: MICROBIA having a new ALGADEC ready and commercially available for toxic algae detection, SYSTEA building a new instruments for sulfonamides, algal toxins, marine toxins, pesticides and flame retardants; ACROMED building a sampling and preconcentration prototype that could be commercially available for the detection of those metabolites that are presents in marine environment at very low concentration. Also scientific economic benefit for the universities and research centers involved are also to be considered because this activity has generated new jobs and new opportunities for endusers.

List of Websites:


Giuseppe Novelli, (Rector)
Tel.: +390672592226
Record Number: 197904 / Last updated on: 2017-05-16