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Low-Cost Instrument for Detection of Toxins in Seawater During Harmful Algal Blooms

The Technology

The Harmful Algal Bloom Detection Instrument is a low-cost, portable instrument that has been developed for detecting toxins found in seawater during harmful algal blooms (HAB).

Rapid growth of algae leads to a significant increase in local concentrations of a marine neurotoxins, and high-density blooms of “red tides” are endemic to the Gulf of Mexico and frequently occur on a nearly-annual basis.

Giner Lab‘s field-ready toxin analyzer uses rapid electrochemical analysis as a red tide early-warning tool. The handheld instrument can be easily carried and used along the coastline to better detect and monitor the severity of HAB events.

The technology can also be adapted to detect aerosolized brevetoxins found in ocean spray in order to monitor respiratory health concerns for beach visitors and communities adjacent to coastal regions.

Left to Right: An example of a harmful algal bloom and a Giner Labs Harmful Algal Bloom Detection Instrument. Credit: Giner Labs


  • Inexpensive: Easy to fabricate and can be stored for long periods of time
  • Quick results: Testing is rapid compared to traditional techniques
  • Accurate: Parts-per-billion detection can alert officials to a red tide far sooner than traditional visual methods


  • Instrument can be used by lifeguards, government agents, and vetted volunteers
  • Data can be shared with government agencies, local residents, and visitors


Company Contact

This technology is commercially available for purchase. For additional information please contact Giner Labs at Note: Any reference obtained from this website to a specific company, product, process, or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement by NOAA.

Federal Procurement – Sole Source Information

Through the SBIR/STTR Congressional Authority and Policy Directive, companies are eligible for Phase III sole-source contracts to support work that derives from, extends, or completes work funded with SBIR Phase I or Phase II awards. Technologies in the Marketplace that include this statement are eligible for Phase III awards from any federal agency. For more information about Phase III, see this website and reach out to with questions. Find a full list of available SBIR/STTR technologies, access the Award Database on