MERHAB-LGL does not specifically provide for sample analysis for outside parties but we understand that sometimes one does not know where to turn for sample analysis. This is especially true for State Agencies and Health Departments facing a real or perceived cyanobacterial crisis. In recognition of this, we do provide limited analysis of samples for cyanobacterial toxins. This is provided both as a service for the end user and as a mechanisms by which we develop and improve techniques, discover new toxins and expand our repertory of experience.
Our normal policy is to incorporate outside samples into our normal work schedule. This means that the results from the analysis are generally available within two-four weeks by telephone or email, depending on the number of samples in queue, how many analysis need to be, and how much of our staff is out in the field as part of our own sampling. It is your responsibility to call or email us to request the sample results. Please be aware that we have research cruises planned for the summer and that may slow down the laboratory. A written summary of all results, analytic information and billing information is automatically provided at the end of the season.
It is best to send the samples cold by overnight carrier on a Monday or Tuesday. This avoids them being held at the loading dock over the weekend. We can accept and will filter liquid samples (1 liter bottles), but it may be cheaper for you to filter the sample on site and simply ship us the filter itself. If so, we must also know information like filter type, volume filtered, etc. so you must talk with me about this before shipping. I realize that much of our methodology and abbreviations may be cryptic to you so feel free to call for an explanation. We can provide full method details, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of any given technique, and provide any needed QA/QC information. We would also appreciated it if you include a request for sample analysis form (PDF) along with the samples themselves as email correspondence with me does not always filter down to the sample processing lab.
If you can’t reach me in my office - talk with Mike Satchwell of Steve Ragonese in the lab (315) 470-6844. Mike or Steve can handle all the details on shipping, receiving and analysis.
MERHAB-LGL does not explicitly fund sample analysis for outside organizations. NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research (CSCOR) program has a rapid response program set up exactly for that purpose. More information on that program can be obtained from their MERHAB website. That said, we realize that some toxic events either fall outside of NOAA's mandate, or simply cannot wait for the paper work to catch up with the need. Our basic consideration is not to lose money in these situations so we must charge to recoup costs of solvent disposal, enzymes, LCMS time, etc. There are ways to minimize such charges such as subcontracts, package deals, etc, so we encourage you to call and talk with us if you expect to be doing a large number of samples. Payment is expected after you receive the written results. State agencies and health departments requesting pro bono work must contact us in advance. A full price sheet and additional details can be obtain by contacting Professor Gregory Boyer by email at email@example.com.