Application and further development of DNA techniques that have recently become available can improve reliability and efficiency of monitoring of shellfish larvae and toxic algae.
Monitoring of toxic algae is carried out for the shellfish sector by assignment of the NVWA. De presence of toxic algae can lead to temporary closure of production areas. This means that monitoring results need to be available fast. Some species can only be identified with the use of Scanning Electron Microscopy. Use of this technique is not feasible with the available time frame and budget. In other parts of the world experiments are going on with qPCR. To be able to continue our service to the sector it is necessary to invest in the most advanced techniques.
In a project commissioned by Stichting Ark we work on reintroduction of European oyster beds in the North Sea. Suitability of locations depends on, among other things, the presence of larvae. Larve of European oysters are found sporadically in the Dutch part of the North Sea. Because of this the density is low and consequently the detection chances with conventional methods as well. Under these circumstances the DNA detection method can be very useful in selection pilot locations.
Successful implementation of the new technique will make monitoring more reliable and efficient. This means that closure of shellfish production areas will be based on superior results. For reintroducing the European oyster the selection of pilot locations can be carried out faster.