Development and full-scale testing of an integrated phytoplankton analyser

Development and full-scale testing of an integrated phytoplankton analyser

This project will aim to further develop a prototype instrument able to remotely monitor and detect BGA levels in a timely manner.


Current monitoring and detection methods for blue green algae (BGA) are too slow to provide an opportunity for early intervention, as this involves collection of a sample from site and lengthy laboratory procedures for determination of cell concentrations and speciation from field samples. This can take several days, during which time a full bloom can occur, leading to the need for implementation of much more expensive management procedures and the notification of health authorities. A better and more timely way to monitor and detect BGA is needed to assist water authorities with the early detection of BGA blooms.

Researchers at Victoria University developed a proof of concept approach for detection of BGA at low concentrations by fluorescence using a pre-treatment approach that removed interfering compounds and could be automated. Aquation Pty. Ltd, in collaboration with Victoria University, has further developed and tested a novel portable, remotely monitored, prototype fluorescence instrument that is able to detect BGA at the WHO and NHMRC Alert Level 1 concentration of 2,000 cells/mL in a timely manner. This provides users of the instrument forewarning of an impending BGA bloom, allowing them to implement appropriate management strategies for BGA mitigation. The next stage in the development of this instrument will be to further improve the sample pre-treatment stage, to enhance the detection limit and minimise the effect of interfering substances, allowing field testing of the prototype instrument to demonstrate to water authorities its potential under Australian conditions.

This project’s objective is to further develop the prototype instrument to a stage that will allow field demonstration of the ability of the instrument to remotely monitor and detect BGA levels in a timely manner.  The project will also undertake field trials upon successful prototype development. To develop the instrument from “Technology validated in lab” stage to “Technology demonstrated in relevant environment” stage (i.e., TRL4 to TRL6).  Demonstration of the prototype will enable progression to a commercial product.

WaterRA Contact

Dr Arash Zamyadi

Amount being sought


Due Date

30th Sep, 2021