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Algal bloom toxins now detectable in urine tests

A researcher from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute worked with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop a new way of testing for algal bloom toxin exposure. The new test is a urinalysis.

Using a “commercially available antibody”, they were able to separate microcystins and nodularine from the urine to be tested. This new method is called immunocapture protein phosphatase inhibition assay or IC-PPIA. IC-PPIA allowed the CDC to “detect low-dose human exposures to microcystins by analysis of urine from three of the 86 urine specimens analyzed” in the state of Florida. The hope is that combining the water tests with this new IC-PPIA test will give researchers a more complete picture of the impact of toxic algal blooms.

Anytime more tests are developed to help us understand the exposure and impact of toxins, it’s another positive step in living a toxic-free lifestyle. Let’s hope that while we continue to develop additional studies, their need is lessened going forward.

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