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The second round of monitoring in August in search of Ostreopsis ovata, the potentially toxic microalgae that seems to have decided to frequent Liguria with only a few specimens this summer, allowed Arpal technicians to observe other organisms virtually invisible to the naked eye.

In particular, when sampling in Sestri Levante, two biologists from the Regional Agency for Environmental Protection came across a as harmless as obvious bloom of other microalgae, which can be traced back to the order Gymnodiniales and are present in concentrations of more than one million specimens per liter of water (1,225.38 cells/l to be precise), responsible for the anomalous coloration that can also be guessed from the images.

On the occasion, a particular “smart” instrument developed by ETT, born from the integration of a commercial kit made by SmartMicroOptics, an innovative startup twinned by the Italian Institute of Technology – IIT), and an App for smartphones that allows to acquire and send to the specific web portal photographic reports, was tested for the first time in the field. The tool was optimized as part of the Algawarning project, which was created for monitoring, automatic counting and in situ risk assessment of toxigenic microalgae. That project, now concluded but whose effects will continue over time, saw Arpal together with DiMES, the Department of Experimental Medicine of the University of Genoa and ETT.

In this short video one can see how any smartphone is sufficient to carry out a preliminary and qualitative survey directly on the shore, thanks to the prototype for monitoring microalgae, or other zooplankton organisms.