• Detection of AVM Toxin in Water Samples: Method Development and Environmental Analysis

      Maron, Nick; Wiley, Faith; Department of Biological Sciences (2017-03)
      Hydrilla in Lake Thurmond is colonized by cyanobacteria linked to avian vacuolar myelinopathy (AVM), a disease affecting several avian species including bald eagles and American coots. The cyanobacteria produce a neurotoxin that causes brain lesions and adverse effects including the inability to fly, swim, and walk. Prior studies have established that the toxin can be ingested through the hydrilla, but this test aims to determine the presence of the cyanobacterial toxin in the water. An experiment was designed using an ENVITM SPE Disk (C18 bonded phase) that successfully extracted the toxin from a previously spiked water sample. Water samples were collected from the lake during the Fall 2016 AVM season and are currently being analyzed for the presence of the toxin with the previously developed SPE disk method. This study was developed in order to create a method to test the water samples for toxin, identify different routes of exposure to the toxin, and evaluate its environmental effects.