About centre

Research and laboratory equipment of the Centre for Cyanobacteria and Their Toxins (CCT)

  • research and technology development in the prevention and management of cyanobacterial water blooms
  • detection of cyanobacteria and their toxins (cyanotoxins) in environmental samples
  • ecological role of cyanotoxins
  • research of cyanobacterial autecology and ecotoxicology
  • popularization and ecological education in the field of cyanobacteria

Several advanced methods are used for environmental monitoring and ecotoxicity testing. These methods include:

  • Measurement of the fluorescence of photosynthetic pigments
  • Flow cytometry
  • Microscopic techniques (epifluorescence and light microscopy)
  • Analytical methods for cyanotoxin detection (HPLC, ELISA)
  • Cell and molecular biology, biochemistry

Measurement of the fluorescence of photosynthetic pigments

Labs of CCT are equipped with certain instruments, which work based on the flourescence principle:

  • FluoroProbe (bbe Moldaenke GmBH, Kiel, Germany) - this instrument allows the determination of four different phytoplankton groups based on their fluorescence excitation spectra. Relative abundances of individual phytoplankton groups are measured in situ and on-line.
  • Spectro(fluoro)metric readers Genios and Sunrise (Tecan, Maennedorf, Switzerland) - are used mainly in ecotoxicity tests. We routinely use these instruments in several ISO methods for testing of potentially suitable chemicals for cyanobacterial management.
    • ISO 20079 (2001) Water quality. Determination of the toxic effect of water constituents and waste water to duckweed Lemna minor
    • ISO 8692 (1989) Water quality. Fresh water algal inhibition test with Scenedesmus subspicatus and Selenastrum capricornutum
  • FluorCam (Photon Systems Instruments, Brno, Czech Republic) - is used for the measurement of chlorophyll kinetics, which allows us to get information about photosynthetic activity of phytoplankton community quickly and non-invasively.
  • AOM - Algal on-line monitor - product of our research cooperation with SME company Photon Systems Instruments, Brno, which is able to transfer data from nature to laboratory by GSM.

Flow cytometry

In June, 2008, the machinery equipment of the lab was extended by flow cytometer CyFlow ML (Partec GmbH, Muenster, Germany). At present an optimization of methodology for flow cytometric analyses of natural samples has been performed.

Microscopic techniques

Another topic investigated in our lab is an ecology of bacteria in freshwater sediments. Bacterial communities are studied by employing techniques of epifluorescence microscopy and fluorescent dyes, allowing to estimate total bacterial counts (SYBR Gold, DAPI) or fractions of actively respiring bacteria (CTC staining). For these purposes light microscope Olympus BX-60 (Olympus Corp.) is used.

Analyses of cyanotoxins

One of the key research activities is the research of cyanobacterial toxins - their environmental levels (including drinking waters) and associated health and ecological risks. Laboratories of CCT are equipped with range of preparatory and analytical techniques including freeze-drying, solid phase extractions (SPE), high-performance liquid chromatography - HPLC Agilent 1100 (Agilent Technologies, Santa Clara, USA) with UV-VIS/DAD. We also work with screening ELISA techniques for microcystins and cylindrospermopsin.

Cell and molecular biology, biochemistry

CCT laboratories are prepared for advanced research of biology and ecotoxicology of cyanobacteria and their toxins. Labs are equipped with a series of sterile flow-boxes, cultivation boxes and incubators, inverted microscopes, equipment for molecular DNA and RNA research (electrophoresis), microplate analysers including fluorimeter and luminometer.