Laboratories, equipment and research methods
Because our attention is paid mainly to planktonnic photoautotrophic organisms, laboratories of our department are equipped with a wide range of devices and machines for both field sampling and laboratory cultivation of cyanobacteria and algae, their complex analyses and long-term storage.
The basement of this lab are three high performace liquid chromatographs from Agilent Technologies (Santa Clara, California, USA) – Agilent 1100 Series, Agilent 1200 Infinity and chromatograph with tandem mass detection Agilent 1260 Infinity + Agilent 6460 Triple Quadrupole LC-MS/MS. Their main task is the detection and quantification of cyanotoxins from natural and laboratory samples, detection of trace amounts of chemicals with potentially estrogenic or endocrine-disruptive activity and other micropollutants.
Fluorescence lab is equipped with machines utilizing fluorescence of photosynthetic pigments, especially chlorophylls for detection and quantification of phytoplankton or for assessment of its photosynthetic activity. The detection tools are submersible probes FluoroProbe and BenthoTorch from bbe Moldaenke GmbH (Schwentinental, Germany), photosynthetic activity is measured by means of machines from Photon System Instruments s.r.o. (Brno, ČR) FluorCam MF700, fluorometer FL3500 Fast and small pocket-sized field fluorometers AquaPen AP100 for cuvettes (AP-100 C) or with a submersible optical probe (AP-100 P).
The heart of this lab is flow cytometer Partec CyFlow ML (Sysmex – Partec GmbH, Münster, Germany), used for cytometric analyses of bacteria, cyanobacteria and algae from both lab cultures and natural samples.
The lab is equipped for complex work with suspension cultures of cells of not only cyanobacteria and algae, but also of bacteria or cell lines of some other organisms. Sterile working conditions are secured by circulation and laminary flow-boxes, cells can be cultivated in incubators with elevated CO2 level. The research of cytotoxicity, biomarkers or signal molecules can be done due to machines for electrophoretic protein separation, Western-blotting and immunocytochemical methods, and also microplate spectrophotometric readers Tecan Sunrise and Genios (Tecan, Maennedorf, Switzerland) or inversion microscope Olympus IX51 (Olympus, Tokyo, Japan).
Microscopical observations can be done by machines from Olympus (Tokyo, Japonsko) – stereo microscope SZX7 for bigger objects and fluorescence microscope BX60 for epifluorescence analyses.
The basic part of this lab is climatic cultivation chamber Sanyo MLR 351 (Panasonic, Japan) and another cultivation room for cultivation and storage of cyanobacteria and algae cultures, and also aquariums for small invertebrate animals (Daphnia magna, Ostracoda and others) used in ecotoxicological biotests. Excpet the toxicity tests the lab is equipped also by spectrophotometer Hach-Lange DR 2800 with kits for physico-chemical analyses of water samples.
Common laboratory equipment
Many other machines and devices are available in the labs, especially for preparation and processing the samples: ultrasonic needle dezintegrator Bandelin Sonoplus HD2070, cooled centrifuge Hettich Rotina 28R, lyophilizator Heto PowerDry LL3000, rotary vacuum vaporizer Heidolph, autoclave Systec DB23, heat-air oven/sterilizator Memmert Ulm500, orbital shakers GFL and IKA, one- and multi-place magnetic stirrers IKA, cryobox, oil exhausters, peristaltic pumps, pH meters and another small laboratory tools.
Part of our work are sampling and measurements of various parameters of water, sediments and phytoplankton or phytobenthos communities in situ in some water bodies in and around Brno. For these purposses a submersible multiparametric “water quality” probe YSI 6000 is used together with various types of mechanic sampling devices for water, sediment and biomass.