Nelson, New Zealand
Nelson, New Zealand

The Cawthron Institute is New Zealand's largest independent science organisation, specialising in science that supports the environment and development within primary industries.Established in 1919 with a bequest from Thomas Cawthron, the organisation’s activities must benefit the Nelson Region and the nation. Governed by the Board of Trustees of the Thomas Cawthron Charitable Trust, Cawthron Institute employs almost 200 scientists, researchers,laboratory specialists and technical staff.Cawthron has its main facilities in Nelson. They work with regional councils, government departments, major industries, private companies, and other research organisations throughout New Zealand and around the world. Cawthron employs approximately 200 scientists, laboratory technicians, researchers and specialist staff from more than 20 countries. They have both chemistry and microbiology labs, and have a major focus on food related testing for food safety and export certification. Cawthorn holds IANZ accreditation for a wide range of tests. Their scientists include experts in aquaculture, marine and freshwater resources, food safety and quality, algal technologies, biosecurity and analytical testing. Wikipedia.

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Munday R.,Agresearch Ltd. | Selwood A.I.,Cawthron Institute | Rhodes L.,Cawthron Institute
Toxicon | Year: 2012

The acute toxicities to mice of pinnatoxins E, F and G, members of the cyclic imine group of phycotoxins, by intraperitoneal injection and/or oral administration, have been determined. These substances were all very toxic by intraperitoneal injection, with LD50 values between 12.7 and 57 μg/kg. Pinnatoxin E was much less toxic by oral administration than by intraperitoneal injection, but this was not the case for pinnatoxin F. The median lethal doses of the latter substance by gavage and by voluntary intake were only 2 and 4 times higher than that by injection. The high oral toxicity of pinnatoxin F raises concerns as to the possibility of adverse effects of this substance in shellfish consumers, although it should be noted that no toxic effects in humans have been recorded with pinnatoxins or with any other compound of the cyclic imine group. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Commault A.S.,Lincoln University at Christchurch | Lear G.,University of Auckland | Packer M.A.,Cawthron Institute | Weld R.J.,Lincoln University at Christchurch
Bioresource Technology | Year: 2013

Through their ability to directly transfer electrons to electrodes, Geobacter sp. are key organisms for microbial fuel cell technology. This study presents a simple method to reproducibly select Geobacter-dominated anode biofilms from a mixed inoculum of bacteria using graphite electrodes initially poised at -0.25, -0.36 and -0.42V vs. Ag/AgCl. The biofilms all produced maximum power density of approximately 270mWm-2 (projected anode surface area). Analysis of 16S rRNA genes and intergenic spacer (ITS) sequences found that the biofilm communities were all dominated by bacteria closely related to Geobacter psychrophilus. Anodes initially poised at -0.25V reproducibly selected biofilms that were dominated by a strain of G. psychrophilus that was genetically distinct from the strain that dominated the -0.36 and -0.42V biofilms. This work demonstrates for the first time that closely related strains of Geobacter can have very different competitive advantages at different anode potentials. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Wood S.A.,Cawthron Institute | Holland P.T.,Cawthron Institute | MacKenzie L.,Cawthron Institute
Chemosphere | Year: 2011

Sampling and monitoring for cyanotoxins can be problematic as concentrations change with environmental and hydrological conditions. Current sampling practices (e.g. grab samples) provide data on cyanotoxins present only at one point in time and may miss areas or times of highest risk. Recent research has identified the widespread distribution of anatoxin-producing benthic cyanobacteria in rivers highlighting the need for development of effective sampling techniques. In this study we evaluated the potential of an in situ method known as solid phase adsorption toxin tracking (SPATT) for collecting and concentrating anatoxin-a (ATX) and homoanatoxin-a (HTX) in river water. Fifteen different adsorption substrates were screened for efficiency of ATX uptake, nine of which retained high proportions (>70%) of ATX. Four substrates were then selected for a 24-h trial in a SPATT bag format in the laboratory. The greatest decrease in ATX in the water was observed with powdered activated carbon (PAC) and Strata-X (a polymeric resin) SPATT bags. A 3-d field study in a river containing toxic benthic cyanobacterial mats was undertaken using PAC and Strata-X SPATT bags. ATX and HTX were detected in all SPATT bags. Surface grab samples were taken throughout the field study and ATX and HTX were only detected in one of the water samples, highlighting the limitations of this currently used method. Both Strata-X and PAC were found to be effective absorbent substrates. PAC has the advantage that it is cheap and readily available and appears to continue to sorb toxins over longer periods than Strata-X. SPATT has the potential to be integrated into current cyanobacterial monitoring programmes and would be a very useful and economical tool for early warning of ATX and HTX contamination in water. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Rhodes L.,Cawthron Institute
Toxicon | Year: 2011

The dinoflagellate genus, Ostreopsis Schmidt, has an increasingly global distribution. It blooms in temperate to tropical coastal waters, and toxic species are present in all regions in which the genus has been recorded. The distribution has increased markedly in the last decade and associated illnesses have also increased. These trends are likely to continue. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Vessel traffic is the primary pathway for non-indigenous marine species introductions to New Zealand, with hull fouling recognised as being an important mechanism. This article describes hull fouling on seven slow-moving commercial vessels sampled over a 1 year period. Sampling involved the collection of images and fouling specimens from different hull locations using a standardised protocol developed to assess vessel biofouling in New Zealand. A total of 29 taxa was identified by expert taxonomists, of which 24% were indigenous to New Zealand and 17% non-indigenous. No first records to New Zealand were reported, however 59% of species were classified as 'unknown' due to insufficient taxonomic resolution. The extent of fouling was low compared to that described for other slow-movers. Fouling cover, biomass and richness were on average 17.1% (SE = 1.8%), 5.2 g (SE = 1.1 g) and 0.8 (SE = 0.07) per photoquadrat (200 x 200 mm), respectively. The fouling extent was lowest on the main hull areas where the antifouling paint was in good condition. In contrast, highest levels of fouling were associated with dry-docking support strips and other niche areas of the hull where the paint condition was poor. Future studies should target vessels from a broader range of bioregions, including vessels that remain idle for extended periods (ie months) between voyages, to increase understanding of the biosecurity risks posed by international commercial slow-movers.

This study used a specially designed MAGPLATE system to quantify the en route survivorship and post-voyage recovery of biofouling assemblages subjected to short voyages (< 12 h) across a range of vessel speeds (slow, medium, fast; in the range 4.0-21.5 knots). The effect of hull location (bow, amidships and stern) was also examined. While no significant differences were evident in en route survivorship of biofouling organisms amongst hull locations, biofouling cover and richness were markedly reduced on faster vessels relative to slower craft. Therefore, the potential inoculum size of non-indigenous marine species and richness is likely to be reduced for vessels that travel at faster speeds (> 14 knots), which is likely to also reduce the chances of successful introductions. Despite this, the magnitude of introductions from biofouling on fast vessels can be considered minor, especially for species richness where 90% of source-port species were recorded at destinations.

Hopkins G.A.,Cawthron Institute
Biofouling | Year: 2010

The present study tested two diver-operated rotating brush systems, coupled with suction and collection capabilities, to determine their efficacy in the management of vessel biofouling. Both rotating brush systems proved effective (> 80%) in removing low-to-moderate levels of fouling from flat and curved experimental surfaces (Perspex plates). However, performance was generally poorer at removing more advanced levels of fouling. In particular, mature calcareous organisms were relatively resistant to the rotating brushes, with a high proportion (up to 50%) remaining on plates following treatment. On average, > 95% of defouled material was collected and retained by both systems. The amount of lost material generally increased when treating curved plates with increasing biomass, whereas the material lost from flat plates was typically less and remained relatively constant throughout the trials. The majority (> 80%) of fouling not captured by the systems was crushed by the brushes (ie non-viable). However, a diverse range of viable organisms (eg barnacles and hydroids) was lost to the environment during the defouling trials. When defouling a vessel, unintentional detachment of fouling organisms is likely to be high through physical disturbance by divers operating the devices and by associated equipment (eg hoses). Furthermore, residual biosecurity risks are also likely to remain due to diver error, persistent fouling remaining on treated surfaces and the inaccessibility of niche areas to the brush systems. To address these limitations, further research into alternative treatment methods is required.

Mackenzie A.L.,Cawthron Institute
New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research | Year: 2014

New Zealand's reputation as a supplier of high quality food products is vital to the national economy; international consumers are acutely aware of food safety issues and markets are increasingly demanding higher standards. Filter feeding bivalves are particularly sensitive to the nature of the environment in which they are grown, and quality assurance is a major preoccupation of the shellfish aquaculture industry. With the exception of a couple of incidents, most notably the Gymnodinium catenatum blooms in 2000-2003, paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) contamination has, to date, not had an important effect on the economics and sustainability of the industry. However, the dinoflagellate species responsible for producing these toxins are not uncommon in New Zealand coastal phytoplankton communities, and it is important that awareness of the potential risk is maintained. This review summarises what we know about the causes and incidence of PST contamination from research and monitoring over the last 20 years, since it was first identified in New Zealand. It describes the dynamics of major events and their consequences, and evaluates what is likely to happen in the future as aquaculture expands into new areas with known histories of this problem. © 2014 © 2014 Cawthron Institute, New Zealand.

The natural chemical compounds radicicol, polygodial and ubiquinone-10 (Q10) have previously been identified as inhibitors of metamorphosis in ascidian larvae. Accordingly, they have potential as a specific remedy for the costly problem of fouling ascidians in bivalve aquaculture. In this study, these compounds were screened for their effects on the physiological health of an aquaculture species, the green-lipped mussel, Perna canaliculus Gmelin, at or above the 99% effective dose (IC(99)) in ascidians. Three physiological biomarkers of mussel health were screened: growth (increases in shell height and wet weight), condition (condition index) and mitochondrial respirational function (Complex I-mediated respiration, Complex II-mediated respiration, maximum uncoupled respiration, leak respiration, respiratory control ratios and phosphorylation system control ratios). While polygodial and Q10 had no effect on mussel growth or the condition index, radicicol retarded growth and decreased the condition index. Mitochondrial respirational function was unaffected by radicicol and polygodial. Conversely, Q10 enhanced Complex I-mediated respiration, highlighting the fundamental role of this compound in the electron transport system. The present study suggests that polygodial and Q10 do not negatively affect the physiological health of P. canaliculus at the IC(99) in ascidians, while radicicol is toxic. Moreover, Q10 is of benefit in biomedical settings as a cellular antioxidant and therefore may also benefit P. canaliculus. Accordingly, polygodial and Q10 should be progressed to the next stage of testing where possible negative effects on bivalves will be further explored, followed by development of application techniques and testing in a laboratory and aquaculture setting.

Cawthron Institute | Date: 2014-01-27

A relesably submersible float assembly comprising a float body and a retainer is disclosed. In one application the assembly is for use in conjunction with a mooring line to releasably submerse support lines for growing ropes used in aquaculture.

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