Development of a Novel Environmental Monitoring System based on Optical Oxygen Sensing and Respirometry

Final Report for the project: AT-04-01-01

Summary: STRIVE Report 23- Dmitri B. Papkovsky et al

Published: 2009

ISBN: 978-1-84095-219-3

Pages: 44

Filesize: 1,155 KB

Format: pdf


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Marine Institute entered a strategic partnership agreement in July 2005 in the broad areas of Environmental Technologies and Water-Quality Monitoring. The aim was to catalyse an innovative programme of environmental technology research to underpin the development of the Smart Green Economy. The specific aims of the partnership were to:

  • Build national research and innovation capacity in the area of water-quality monitoring, particularly in respect to the implementation of the Water Framework Directive.
  • Provide technological support for the sustainable development of aquatic/marine resources.
  • Support the creation of new industrial capabilities in these areas.

In this project the team – comprising academic and industrial partners – has developed a new system for toxicological monitoring of environmental samples. The new system, which can be used particularly for wastewater, contaminated freshwater and seawater samples, is based on a number of alternative biological models for toxicity testing, employs optical oxygen respirometry as a method of detection. Compared with existing tests and systems for toxicological assessment, this approach provides high sensitivity and specificity because of its measurement of sub-lethal changes in the metabolism of test organisms, along with the method’s high sample throughput, miniaturisation, affordable cost and the general convenience provided by the optical respirometry. The system operates with dispensible O2-sensing probes, simple and robust assay procedures, standard microtitter plate assay platforms and widely available measurement instrumentation (fluorescent plate readers).

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