[Coral-List] Contract: Cyanide Testing Research
Glynnis.Roberts at noaa.gov
Tue Apr 8 10:20:32 EDT 2008
The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program's (CRCP) Office of Habitat
Conservation is seeking partners capable of conducting research on
cyanide exposure in marine aquarium fish. We currently have a small
amount of funding available for cyanide research, and are looking to
identify interested researchers or laboratories as well as other
possible sources of matching funds.
The use of cyanide to capture marine aquarium and food fishes live is a
widespread problem throughout southeast Asia and the south Pacific.
Programs to deter the use of cyanide (e.g., net retraining efforts and
testing of fish for the presence of cyanide) have been effective at
reducing the use of cyanide, at least over the short term. However, only
one test has been widely used (in the Philippines): the Ion Selective
Electrode (ISE) method. Before expanding the use of the ISE testing
method, experts at a recent NOAA-led workshop on cyanide testing
recommended the need for research to determine: 1) whether measurable
background levels of cyanide could be detected in marine fishes that
have not been exposed to cyanide during capture; 2) how long can you
detect the presence of cyanide in a fish exposed to varying
concentrations of cyanide; and 3) the sensitivity of the ISE method.
We are interested in supporting research to determine background levels
of cyanide in small reef fish and rates of breakdown of cyanide
following exposure. Specifically, we are seeking support of a laboratory
to: 1) expose small reef fish (e.g., aquarium fishes) to varying
concentrations of cyanide and preserve (freeze) the samples over
specific time intervals for analysis; and 2) analyze the fish to
determine the presence and concentration of cyanide. This could be done
by two separate facilities, whereby the first facility is responsible
for dosing the fish and freezing the sample, and the second lab digests
the fish and tests for cyanide. Alternately, one lab could complete both
the dosing and testing (in fresh and frozen samples).
We would like potential partners to consider the following:
1) The samples need to be very small fish like those collected fro the
aquarium trade, so it is not possible to test for cyanide levels in
blood. The traditional method involves digestion of the whole fish or
specific organs to liberate the cyanide.
2) The presence of background levels of cyanide in marine ornamental
fish has not been verified. Cyanide is widely used in mining throughout
Southeast Asia and there are claims that there are high "natural" levels
of cyanide in the water.
3) The ISE method is the only test that has been applied at points of
export to date. However, there have been a few studies claiming the test
is not sensitive and ISE tests may be giving false readings, as they are
able to detect cyanide for 24 hours or more after exposure (while other
labs indicate the half life may be only an hour or so). Ideally, we
would like to validate the ISE methodology and also undertake
comparative studies using an alternate method.
If you are interested in conducting this work or know of someone that
would be appropriate, please respond to Glynnis.Roberts at noaa.gov
<mailto:Glynnis.Roberts at noaa.gov>. Please provide some indication of
your capabilities and estimated costs.
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