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ENVIGUARD: Biosensor Technology for food safetyin aquaculture

The main objective of the EnviGuard project is to develop a specific and accurate in-situ measurement system for numerous chemical contaminants – biologically dangerous and difficult to measure – currently caused by man. This task will be possible through the development of three detection units targeting algae, chemicals and pathogens respectively, and integrated into a single, portable device called the “EnviGuard port”. This instrument will allow collecting and sending information in real time.

“Responding to the demand of the aquaculture industries for a reliable and cost-effective real-time monitoring tool.”

EnviGuard will be used as an early warning system in aquaculture to assess the good environmental status of the sea in accordance with current European legislation including the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Directive 2010/75/EU regarding the Prevention and Control of Emissions Industrial Industries and the Water Framework Directive, whose environmental objectives must be met by 2015.

The biosensors to be developed in the project go beyond those currently used in terms of precision, reliability and simplicity of operation; Combining innovations in nanotechnology and molecular science, state-of-the-art sensors will be developed putting European researchers and innovative SMEs at the forefront of fast-growing markets.


The EnviGuard port will act as an interface connected to three biosensor modules and will take care of processes such as power supply to the sensors, sample preparation, data processing and subsequent transmission. To meet user requirements, the EnviGuard Port is presented with a modular structure adaptable to any specific need.

  • Algae detection unit, sensitive to toxic microalgae species, mainly dinoflagellates, which can potentially form toxic algal blooms (HABs).

  • Pathogen detection unit to locate and quantify specific particles of bacteria and viruses. It consists of a chip covered with aptameters and an optical detection unit.

  • Chemical detection unit based on a new concept of sensitive biophotonic cells that use resonant nanopillars as transducers and monoclonal antibodies as selective bioreceptors to detect toxins and pollutants produced by human activity.



  • Highly specific, accurate and reliable measurements of biohazards and chemical contaminants in seawater with real-time results.
  • Multi-class, multi-assay method for simultaneous detection of harmful microalgae species, Betanodavirus, E. coli, algal toxin, and PCBs.
  • A modular system (up to three sensors) integrated into a single durable device.
  • Automatic sampling under conditions of multiple stressors in the marine environment.
  • Easy access to data from anywhere through the Internet database that allows risk assessment and the state of the environment online.
  • Easy, fast and cheap way to measure harmful substances on site.
  • Real-time results make it an early warning system for the aquaculture industry, beach watchers, and national park services.


EnviGuard’s multidisciplinary approach brings together the best scientists in Europe in fields such as nanotechnology, microbiology, molecular genetics, chemistry, marine research, process control or automation engineering, all of them working in close cooperation with technological SMEs, users of the aquaculture and environmental monitoring.

  • Transfer of research results into market applications guaranteed by the strong participation of SMEs and end users in development.
  • Implementation of EnviGuard technology that will contribute significantly to the sustainable development of the marine economy, one of the objectives integrated into the European Union’s marine policy.
  • Prevention of future damage to the marine environment and aquaculture through the early detection of pathogens, as well as other contaminants in favor of the production and supply of high quality and healthy seafood.

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Website: www.enviguard.net

Status: Finalized

Financing programme: 7th Framework Program

Contrato nº: 614057

Duration: December 1, 2013 – November 30, 2018 (60 months)

Budget: 7,177,421.82€ (CE funding: 5,523,461.00€)

Contact person: Antonia Lorenzo (alorenzo@bioazul.com)