Services and tools in collaboration

Service for the identification and quantification of algal toxins in aquatic and tissue matrices

Cyanobacteria are a key group responsible for environmental problems associated with anthropogenic eutrophication processes. They are prokaryotic photosynthetic organisms, which can produce a wide variety of toxic secondary metabolites, known as cyanotoxins. In just a few decades, the world's aquatic ecosystems have suffered a heavy increase in cyanobacterial blooms, which multiplied rapidly as a result of eutrophication.

Over the last few years there have been more and more alarming reports of the general increase in harmful algal blooms (HABs); this phenomenon is associated with the contamination of freshwater and marine ecosystems and consequently with the safety of food derived from aquatic organisms, with an impact on human health and socio-economic systems worldwide.

The Service was set up to respond to the growing requests for help, from ARPA and national IZS, in the detection and identification of freshwater, marine and mixed environment biotoxins, present in aqueous matrix or concentrated in flora and fauna. The Service refers to the provisions of Legislative Decree 31/01, Legislative Decree 152/06 and EU Dir.

Specialized personnel work in the structure capable of:

  1. carry out the identification and quantification of potentially toxic cyanobacterial species;
  2. perform toxin extraction from aqueous or tissue (animal and vegetable) matrices;
  3. quantify the presence of algal toxins through the use of specific immunobody ELISA assays.

Main toxins detectable by the Service:

Freshwater toxins Marine water toxins
Microcystins Saxitoxins
Cylindrospermopsins Brevetoxins
Anabaenopeptins Ciguatoxins
BMAA Ocadaic acid
Anatoxin A Domoic acid

External users can refer to the service tariff (points 8.9 and 8.10).

Milena Bruno
+39 06 4990 2173
Valentina Messineo
+39 06 4990 2328 / 2173