Recent field tests confirm versatility of the RamLab automated ballast verification system

The Ram Laboratory recently (July 14 - 19, 2016) conducted field tests of AFIDD (the Automated Fluorescence Intensity Detection Device, being developed for automated detection of live organisms in ballast water) at Belle Isle in Detroit and at the Great Ships Initiative in Superior, WI. At Belle Isle, student researchers Osama Alian, Mrugesh Shah, and Alexander Gruber (pictured below) sampled organisms between 10 and 50 µm in diameter directly from the Tacoma Lagoon by means of an inlet tube placed directly in the lagoon. The inlet tube had a 50 µm pre-filter (the diagonal length of the actual 35 µm nylon mesh that was used) and a 10 µm PCTE capture filter. Linear, significant responses were obtained, in comparison to the virtually nil response obtained with sterile water control samples.

AFIDD test at Tacoma Lagoon, Belle isle, Detroit, MI

In August 2016, Ram Lab personnel traveled up to the Great Ships Initiative (GSI) in Superior, WI for further testing of AFIDD. Working in the GSI Mobile Lab, the team verified AFIDD performance under field conditions, correctly identfied blind samples with respect to treatment or not, and conducted range-finding for the sensitivity of their detection system. Future independent evaluation tests of the AFIDD system by GSI are planned.

GSI laboratory for testing AFIDDThe GSI Mobile Lab (A) is festooned with logos of the many organizations that have used or funded it. Inside the mobile laboratory (B), Mrugesh Shah (pictured) conducted the tests together with Jeffrey Ram and Alexander Gruber and the GSI team of scientists. This land-based facility has large tanks (C) that function as ballast tank "stand-ins" for conducting tests of ballast management systems. During August 2016, the 1000-foot bulk carrier Indian Harbor (D), on which the Ram Lab and GSI have done previous ballast management testing, was docked nearby. As it says on the ship's bridge, "Keep the Lakes Great."

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