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National Measurement Institute

Test to Measure Toxic Cyanobacteria

Diagnostic Technology has a long-standing history of supplying innovative life science products to the Australasian market and has now developed, in collaboration with the University of NSW’s Professor Brett Neilan and NMI, a test for the quantitative measurement of toxic cyanobacteria. The Phytoxigene™ CyanoDTec kit was launched in early 2014.

Professor Neilan’s research into the genetics of toxic cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) has gained international recognition and the resulting technology is revolutionising the management of drinking water supplies by enabling early, rapid detection of harmful cyanobacteria using a DNA test that targets their toxin genes.

Traditional techniques detect toxins already present in the environment. The new gene test provides a monitoring process for both the development and decline of a toxic algae bloom event.

Team behind the CyanoDTec test kit During 2009–13, NMI received significant funding to develop new bioanalytical capabilities to support industry. This expertise was then utilised by NMI, under contract from Diagnostic Technology, to develop a DNA reference material to provide calibration and standardisation for the test kit, representing a successful and world-first application of NMI’s bioanalytical expertise to water management.

Diagnostic Technology plans to develop related products for the detection of other toxic pathogens that may be present in other natural sources and seafood.

The team behind the new CyanoDTec test kit (R to L) on-site at one of Sydney’s contaminated waterways: Prof Brett Neilan (UNSW), Mark Van Asten (Diagnostic Technology) and Dr Leonardo Pinheiro (NMI)

Mark Van Asten, Managing Director of Diagnostic Technology
'Diagnostic Technology and UNSW saw value in working with NMI to create an internationally recognised standard that would become the benchmark for toxin gene quantification'