Fish-killing algae blooms meet their match


In California, Agilent, a life sciences, diagnostics and applied chemical markets company, is working with researchers at the Technical University of Denmark to analyze the biology of algae, bacteria, and especially fungi, that they believe can unlock the secrets of the metabolites, enzymes, and bioactive proteins that these micro-organisms produce.

Using various Agilent instruments and software solutions, researchers are addressing the fish-killing algal toxin that has become a serious issue for fish farmers. With increased fish farmking, blooms of microalgae are also increasing. Thomas Larsen, one of the researchers, said that the team “has been able to characterize the complex isotopic patterns of toxins that have a mass of only about 2,000 daltons, using mass spectrometers and software from Agilent. Through chemical analysis or genotyping, we can have an early warning system. So if you have lots of fish in a cave by the sea, when the blooming is just about to start, you can catch the fish and avoid having them die.”