Agency Grant to Support New Device to Identify Cyanotoxins

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Sept. 29 a grant of $599,999 to Drexel University, where Professor Raj Mutharasan is developing an ultra-sensitive device that can detect -- within 10 to 15 minutes -- the presence of cyanotoxins in rivers, lakes, and streams used for drinking water.

Mutharasan, the principal researcher who has been studying this area for five years, said, "The ability to measure cyanotoxins at levels almost a billion-fold lower and at low cost provides a great capability for our officials in charge of safe water supply."

Cyanotoxins have been linked to fish kills, kidney problems, and cancer.

The researcher expects to complete work on the project in about three years. His goal is to get the device commercially manufactured to help prevent potentially widespread damage caused by cyanotoxins.

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