QwikLite Bioassay System
selected as a winner of the 2008 Award for Excellence
in Technology Transfer
The Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer is
presented annually by the Federal Laboratory Consortium
for Technology Transfer (FLC). The award recognizes outstanding
work in the process of transferring a technology developed
by a federal laboratory to the commercial marketplace.
This year SSC Pacific is one of a select number of
recipients determined by a distinguished panel of technology
transfer experts from industry, state and local government,
academia, and the federal laboratory system. SSC San
Diego and QwikLite will be recognized at an award ceremony
on Thursday, May 8, 2008, at the FLC National Meeting
in Portland, Oregon.
A Unique Test For Determining Toxicity
Using Bioluminescent Dinoflagellates
QwikLite bioassays are used as biological tools to gauge
the extent of environmental contamination. Some
species of marine phytoplankton have the ability to produce
bioluminescence, a visible light, as part of their daily
physiological process. The ecological role these minute
organisms play as primary producers in the ocean makes
them ideal subjects and biological tools in many laboratory
When time and sensitivity are important, complicated
and costly assays using fish or invertebrates may not be suitable.
Inadequate facilities for these high maintenance organisms
could result in loss of valuable resources, in the event of
failure. How can this puzzle be solved with expediency and
In our laboratory, we have developed a bioassay
that determines an acute response and chronic effect of a wide
variety of toxicants upon bioluminescenct dinoflagellates by
measuring a reduction in their light output after exposure.
Successful bioassays of this type have been performed on two
species, Pyrocistis lunula and Gonyaulax polyedra. QwikLite
bioassays can help piece together all of the elements that
determine whether or not a targeted area is in need of remediation.
The use of bioluminescent dinoflagellates, as part of a broader-based
biological and chemical testing program, can help identify
a potential problem.
QwikLite Bioassay Basics
- Seawater and appropriate amounts of toxicants
are mixed and distributed into optical grade spectrophotomettric
- Dinoflagellate cells are added to produce
a concentration of about 300 cells per cuvette (3mL).
- Cells are kept in the dark for four hours
after initial setup to allow for dark phase optimization
- Cuvettes are individually placed into the
QwikLite Test Chamber.
- High voltage, timer, counter, and stirrer
- Stirring stimulates the cells to produce
bioluminescence that is detected by the photomultiplier tube
The QwikLite System gives results in PMT counts/sec.
so there is no guess-work. With approximately 300 dinoflagellate
cells per cuvette, accuracy is ensured. Our PC-compatible program
and Assay Results Sheets help you analyze output with ease.
- Horizontally-mounted, 2 inch RCA 8575 PMT
with S-20 response.
- PMT signal sent to QwikLite controller for
processing and counting.
- Extreme sensitivity achieved by operating
close to singlephoton counting mode.
- Direct-drive stirring system with adjustable
speed motor that uses stainless steel shaft terminating in
a plastic propeller.
- Fully adjustable timer and automated data
- QwikLite Controller: 2.5 in x 16.5 in x 8.5 in (7 cm x 42.5 cm x 22.5 cm)
- PMT Base: 8 in x 12 in x 4.5 in (20.5 cm x 31 cm x 11