At the end of the nineties, a team of researchers at the Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology of Ghent University decided to explore the possibility of developing alternatives to the existing conventional ecotoxicity tests. The aim was to create user-friendly, cost-effective bioassays that are independent of culturing and maintenance of stocks of test species.
In these early years, research was primarily focussed on the production of dormant eggs or immobilised stages for a selection of aquatic test organisms. For this purpose, some available basement rooms were transformed into research and culturing areas. Initially, the aquatic organisms were grown in barrels and small kegs, that were gradually up-scaled later.
At the same time, small-scale bioassays or TOXKITS were developed with some selected test species. As stated, these alternative tests can be initiated from dormant eggs or immobilised stages, that can be hatched or de-immobilised on demand, thus independent of the sourcing, the culturing and/or the maintenance of live stocks of test biota.
In 2001, the company Microbiotests Inc. was established as a spin-off of Ghent University. Microbiotests is based in Ghent (Belgium), where the offices and rearing facility are situated. The culturing facility entails custom-designed culturing areas and research laboratories.
The mass culturing of aquatic organisms and the production of dormant eggs or immobilised test species is one of the key activities of Microbiotests. All test organisms are grown “in-house” in strictly controlled conditions. Microbiotests guarantees the high quality of the biological material produced. Quality control checks of the resting eggs and immobilised test species are performed on a regular basis.
The company name Microbiotests Inc. contains the words ‘MICRO’, ‘BIO’ and ‘TEST’ and refers to the TOXKIT line of tests that are developed and marketed; SMALL-SCALE BIOLOGICAL TESTS for ecotoxicity screening of chemicals and environmental samples.
Microbiotests has built up an extensive expertise in ecotoxicology and is renowned in the world of environmental toxicity testing. Our expertise can help you in your search for a specific application with our selection of test organisms. Tailor-made training courses for specific Toxkit assays are also offered.
Microbiotests strives for continuous innovation and therefore closely co-operates with universities and technology companies. In our research department we develop new testing procedures and culturing methods for aquatic test organisms that are not yet covered in the present line of Toxkit assays.
In a nutshell
Microbiotests is the exclusive producer worldwide of Toxkits and offers a broad range of aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicity bioassays with freshwater, seawater, sediment organisms and higher plants according to several international standards and guidelines such as ISO, OECD, USEPA and ASTM.
The Toxkit line of tests are used for research purposes and toxicity screening of chemicals, surface waters, groundwaters, industrial effluents and sediments in the freshwater and marine environment and soils.
The unique characteristic and the major asset of the Microbiotests Toxkits is that the bioassays are totally independent of the culturing and maintenance of stocks of test organisms. The Toxkits make use of dormant or immobilised stages of selected test species, which can be stored for long periods of time and activated at the time of performance of the assays.
Toxkits are presently used in more than 45 countries worldwide for toxicity detection and quantification of chemicals and contaminated environmental samples.