News 178 views last update:6 Aug 2012

New technique to test impact aquaculture

A DNA technique pioneered in the wine industry to test soil health is being adapted to monitor the environmental impact of fish farms in the sea.

A team of scientists is travelling the waters of the Spencer Gulf in South Australia, fine-tuning the test. Ian Nightingale from Primary Industries South Australia says the technique involves testing sediment taken from under the sea cages fish are grown in. "The difference that we're trying to achieve is to make those tests more efficient and fast and accurate,' he said.

"The current procedure is those samples are taken from the seabed, they are then taken to a laboratory and they're analysed manually by someone looking through a microscope, literally counting these small creatures individually. "Whereas this technology allows the same sort of DNA technology that forensic labs are using."

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