A smartphone device able to quickly detect toxic algae blooms in water offers an early warning system for the potential health threat.
Blue-green algae blooms are caused by cyanotoxins, and can be fatal to humans. While typical testing requires a sample be sent to a lab, the smartphone device created by the team from North Caroline State University can be used on site. The reader features a chip loaded with apatmers, molecules that bind to target molecules—the four common types of cyanotoxins in this case—and cause them to fluoresce. Results are delivered in just five minutes.