Biosensors for the monitoring of harmful algal blooms

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2017 Jun;45:164-169. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2017.02.018.


Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are a major global concern due to their propensity to cause environmental damage, healthcare issues and economic losses. In particular, the presence of toxic phytoplankton is a cause for concern. Current HAB monitoring programs often involve laborious laboratory-based analysis at a high cost and with long turnaround times. The latter also hampers the potential to develop accurate and reliable models that can predict HAB occurrence. However, a promising solution for this issue may be in the form of remotely deployed biosensors, which can rapidly and continuously measure algal and toxin levels at the point-of-need (PON), at a low cost. This review summarises the issues HABs present, how they are difficult to monitor and recently developed biosensors that may improve HAB-monitoring challenges.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques / methods*
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Harmful Algal Bloom*
  • Phytoplankton / classification
  • Phytoplankton / growth & development*