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Better Environmental Risk Assessment
With TechLink assistance, the US Army licensed a novel test kit for evaluating risks in aquatic environments. The licensee is the Diapause Research Foundation (DRF) of Pensacola, Florida. The test kit was developed by the Army’s Center for Environmental Health Research. It takes advantage of diapause, a suspended embryonic stage that occurs naturally in killifish.
Small fish are commonly used for acute toxicity tests in aquatic environments. This testing has traditionally been labor intensive and costly. It requires continuous cultures of healthy fish of specified age, and the difficult transport of these fish to field areas.
The Army’s innovation eliminates most of the cost and logistical difficulties of the traditional approach. The test kit contains embryonic killifish eggs. It can be stored for long periods, then easily be transported to the field. Upon addition of water, the fish hatch within two hours, ready for use.
TechLink recognized the commercial potential of the Army test kit. It approached DRF with the licensing opportunity. DRF is one of the few organizations in the world with the know-how and facilities to successfully produce large quantities of diapause-stage fish embryos. TechLink helped DRF to develop a strong commercialization plan and facilitated the licensing process. The result is commercial implementation of Army technology that offers simple, low-cost, and real-time risk assessment in aquatic environments.