The lab has the capability to identify freshwater algae in surface water samples.
Toxins produced by cyanobacteria are detected quantitatively using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and HPLC-MS-MS analytical methods. Toxins detected include: microcystins (-LR, -RR, -YR, -LA), anatoxin-a, homoanatoxin-a, cylindrospermopsin and deoxycylindrospermopsin. Samples from surface waters and drinking waters can be analyzed.
These bioassays determine the chronic effects of exposed organisms to sediment. Organisms used are Hyalella azteca and Chironomus dilutus.
Microtox is an acute toxicity test using luminescent marine bacteria to determine possible toxicity in a sample. Toxicity results in a reduction in light emitted by the bacteria. Samples can be analyzed and results known in less than two hours.
E-Screen and A-Screen Assays
The E-screen is a cell-culture based assay in which cells from a breast cancer cell line (MCF-7 cells) are exposed to specific compounds or environmental extracts. Because this cell line proliferates in response to estrogens, compounds that cause proliferation are considered estrogenic. The assay is very sensitive; detectable proliferation occurs in the picoMolar range of estradiol.
The A-screen is an assay using MCF-7 cells that have been transfected with the androgen receptor. These cells will respond to androgens (such as testosterone) by inhibiting proliferation.
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Estrogen/Androgen Receptor Yeast Assays
The yeast assays are another tool used to assess potential impacts to the endocrine system. Yeast cells are transformed to contain human estrogen and androgen receptors with corresponding reporter genes. The assays can be used to characterize whether chemicals or samples elicit estrogenic or androgenic responses.