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Thursday, 27 November 2014

SMS promotes the development of novel sensing devices for seawater real-time monitoring

ICN2 holds a Meeting of the European Project SMS on November 27-28. The project will deliver a novel automated networked system to monitor seawater chemical and ecological status.

The Consortium, coordinated from the Universita degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata (Italy), consists of six University and Research Institutes and four SMEs from 8 countries. SMS results will be tested in different marine areas of Europe and are expected to have a major impact on tourism, fisheries, and aquaculture

Barcelona, Thursday November 27th 2014.  The increasing demand by citizens and environmental organizations for the protection, preservation and possible restoration of the marine environment has made seawater quality assessment and control urgent priorities of the EU. Together with other initiatives, the Sensing toxicants in Marine waters makes Sense using biosensors (SMS) Project, funded by the European Commission, promotes the development of novel sensing devices for seawater quality monitoring.

The Consortium, coordinated by Prof. Giuseppe Palleschi from the Universita degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata (Italy),  consists of six University and Research Institutes and four SMEs from 8 countries, covering all the expertise and all the disciplines to reach the specific objectives. The Institut Catala de Nanociencia i Nanotecnologia (Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology - ICN2) holds a SMS meeting on November 27-28, hosted by ICREA Research Prof. Arben Merkoci, partner of the project and Group Leader of the ICN2 Nanobioelectronics and Biosensors Group.

SMS will deliver a novel automated networked system that will enable real-time in-situ monitoring of seawater chemical and ecological status in coastal areas by the detection of a series of pollutants. The compounds specifically targeted by the project cover a wide spectrum of chemicals that have detrimental effects on the marine environment such as the algal toxins, the antifouling agents, the flame retardants and the pharmaceuticals that will be measured using innovative probes. Temperature, pH, salinity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients and turbidity, will also be measured to obtain an improved picture of the chemical and environmental status of the seawater and the conditions in which toxic algal species thrive.

The wireless transmission capability for real-time data, as well as remote access to collected data and remote management of biosensors, will allow for automated low-cost water quality monitoring and alarm system that will be fairly easy to deploy. The approach is similar to the one suggested by BRAAVOO, another project that recently held a meeting at ICN2, showing not only that EU is taking actions for a better monitoring of seawater but also that this Institute treasures the necessary knowledge to make it happen.

Analytical techniques such as optical, electrochemical and separation science as well as remote control of the data will be optimised and then recommended to public institutions and stakeholders to be used for monitoring seawater quality. SMS results, which will be tested in different marine areas of Europe, are expected to have a major impact on economic activities such as tourism, fisheries, and aquaculture, and to create novel business opportunities.