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Development of a rRNA-biosensor for the detection of toxic algae (ALGADEC)

Objective

Toxin-producing microalgae have been responsible for great environmental, economic and public health catastrophes throughout history. These "Harmful Algal Blooms" are known to cause a wide range of detrimental effects such as cutaneous damage in swimmers, nervous and digestive disturbances through contaminated seafood, which can even lead to death, physical impairment of fish and shellfish, and degradation of habitats. Moreover, these direct effects of toxic algae have important economic impacts for instan ce in tourism, fishing and fish fanning. In the last decades the problem has turned more and more critical, because alteration of ecological systems as a consequence of human activity seems to enhance proliferation of toxin-producing algae. A concentratio n of only a few cells per litre of some microalgae may produce harmful toxic effects. Therefore, developing and commercialising an adequate device to spot such organisms would be of great utility in order to avoid, for instance, their appearance in fish fa rms. The specific recognition of a poisonous strain is however complicated. A distinction at molecular level is necessary in order to discriminate between harmful and inoffensive strains, which are, in some cases morphologically identical. The project her e presented aims at developing a biological sensor capable of detecting rapidly and specifically the presence of harmful algal blooms. The in-situ specific recognition of algae's ribosomal RNA will be possible by means of a Sandwich-Hybridisation on an ele ctrochemical sensor. A multi-probe chip will be designed to obtain tailor made sensors containing the most relevant species for a determined area. In order to achieve an adequate device for field applications, a fluidic cell and a warming chamber, as well as the corresponding control software will be developed to automate and optimise the hybridisation process. Thanks to the characteristics above described the ALGADEC device will constitute an adequate device for HABs monitoring. In addition, all developme nts will be performed aiming at the achievement of a cost-effective device in order to enable fish- and shellfish-farmers to check the toxic algal levels of their waters and thus take the corresponding measures to prevent economic loses and to ensure produ ct safety.

Call for proposal

FP6-2002-SME-1
See other projects for this call

Coordinator

ISITEC GMBH
Address
Stresemannstr. 46
Bremerhaven
Germany

Participants (12)

BCS BIO- UND CHEMOSENSOREN GMBH
Germany
Address
Brandteichstrasse 19
Greifswald
CYTOBUOY BV
Netherlands
Address
Weijland 70 C
Nieuwerbrug
EXIQON A/S
Denmark
Address
Bygstubben 9
Vedbaek
GWENT ELECTRONIC MATERIALS LTD.
United Kingdom
Address
Monmouth House, Mamhilad Park
Pontypool
HAVFORSKNINGSINSTITUTTET
Norway
Address
Nykirkekaien 1
Bergen
INSTITUTO ESPANOL DE OCEANOGRAFIA
Spain
Address
Avenida De Brasil 31-2°
Madrid
JUAN JOSE MARTIN RODRIGUEZ
Spain
Address
Mangar 308
Cabo De Cruz
NORTH BAY SHELLFISH LTD
United Kingdom
Address
Horries, Deerness
Orkney, Scotland
PALM INSTRUMENTS BV
Netherlands
Address
Ruitercamp 119
Houten
SKAGERRAK SKJELLMOTTAK AS
Norway
Address
Sundsveien 9
Risor
STIFTUNG ALFRED-WEGENER-INSTITUT FUER POLAR- UND MEERESFORSCHUNG
Germany
Address
Columbusstrasse
Bremerhaven
UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER
United Kingdom
Address
Regent Street 309
London