Recently, some kits have been developed that can detect marine biotoxins in shellfish and phytoplankton/seawater. In using these kits, samples of shellfish or phytoplankton (collected on a filter) are extracted and then the extract is applied to a small cartridge. The cartridge is allowed to develop, usually about 5 minutes, and then the presence or absence of two colored lines is observed. If only one line (the /control) is seen then toxin is present in the sample. If two lines are observed, then toxin is considered absent.
This technology, when applied as a screening device, would be useful if it were implemented in a monitoring and surveillance program. These kits could be used in the field to screen for the presence or absence of toxins. Used as a screen, the kits would reduce the number of samples that needed to be sent to state testing labs, thereby reducing costs and/or resources for surveillance programs.