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Title: The early warning of toxic algal blooms using innovations in immunosensors
Author: McNamee, Sara Ellen
ISNI:       0000 0004 5371 2378
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2014
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Many species of algae are beneficial to lakes and oceans, providing the basis of the food chain that supports the entire ecosystem. However, when they bloom in significant numbers and produce biotoxins, these events are termed harmful algal blooms (HABs). We are seeing an increase in the number of HABs, toxic algae species, new algal toxins being identified and huge economic losses from HABs than ever before. HABs and their problems can only be of increasing concern for the future. It is therefore paramount that we have early warning methods in place capable of detecting toxic algal blooms. The overall aim of this research was to develop rapid, cost effective, high throughput and multi biotoxin methods for the early warning of toxic algal blooms for the enhancement of seafood, water safety practices and public health. Two biosensor assays were developed; one laboratory based and one potentially portable. The multiplex surface plasmon resonance (SPR) biosensor assay was developed for the semi-quantitative, simultaneous screening of three key marine regulated biotoxins. The performance of this biosensor was characterised by the analysis of seawater samples (n = 256) giving a full biotoxin distribution and toxin composition within European waters. This biosensor was also utilised for monitoring an extensive bloom of the PSP toxin producing Alexandrium minutum during the summer of 2011 in Cork (Ireland). Additionally, the multiplex MBio planar waveguide biosensor assay was developed for the semi-quantitative, simultaneous and potentially portable screening of five types of harmful algal biotoxins with results available in as little as 15 min. Both methods are rapid, easy to use and highly sensitive. They are a major advancement in the field of biotoxin detection and have the capability of being employed as early warning detection systems across a range of aquatic environments for the detection of toxic algal blooms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available