Harmful Organisms in Oceanic and Fresh Water
Oceanic and fresh waters suffer from serious health hazards with periodic large-scale blooms of various plankton microorganisms. Massive microbial growth itself depletes nutrients and oxygen, leading to wide-area fish kills that harm commercial fisheries and regional ecology.
The organisms responsible for such blooms may also produce dangerous toxins. Some of these directly cause human and wildlife pathology by direct contact or ingestion. But they also may accumulate in edible filter-feeders such as shellfish consumed by humans. Important toxins include neurotoxins that cause a broad spectrum of pathology attributed to shellfish consumption—neurotoxic, amnesic, and paralytic shellfish poisoning. Paralytic shellfish poisoning has grown markedly around the world in the last decade.
Early detection can help public health, water quality, and commercial operations of impending blooms. Early warning should also include risk assessment for dangerous toxin production that can cause serious human pathology.
Saigene's UAP/SHA system originated at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI, www.mbari.org), a global leader in marine biology. MBARI developed this platform, in use by leading laboratories since the late 1990s, specifically for these purposes.
Alexandrium spp. Marine dinoflagellates that can cause "red tides" and are the most numerous of saxitoxin producers. Saxitoxin can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning.
Microcystis spp. Cyanobacteria responsible for massive fresh-water blooms, producing microcystin toxins that have a variety of pathological effects, including severe liver toxicity.
Pseudo-nitzschia spp. Diatoms that can cause "red tides" and produce domoic acid, a potent toxin that can lead to amnesic shellfish poisoning.