SERDANG, 3 April – Water pollution due to carcinogenic contamination can now be detected and accurately measured in fish bile using a kit invented by Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) researchers.
The kit, developed by Dr. Annie Christianus and Ali Karami Varnamkhasti from the Department of Aquaculture, UPM, detects and accurately measures the presence of cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in fish bile.
The researchers explained that the kit is used for the preparation of fish bile samples prior to high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis and allows for the efficient detection and recovery of PAHs from fish bile.
Dr. Christianus revealed that analysis of contaminated water was insufficient to detect the presence of PAHs conclusively.
“It is determined by the contents of PAHs in fish bile and the readings can be obtained within four hours compared to the conventional method using acetonitrile or methanol which takes a day,” she explained.
“The reading is also 33 times more accurate, and the cost for each 100 sample is around RM450, which is cheaper compared to RM700, using liquid-liquid extraction method,” added Dr. Christianus.
According to Dr. Christianus, previous developed technologies underestimated the presence of PAHs in fish and, therefore, in aquatic environments. This has dramatically influenced conservational decisions taken by authorities and, consequently, endangered sustainable development.
Target groups such as the Department of Environment, petroleum companies, Ministry of Health, Research Institutes and the Malaysian Fisheries Development Board (LKIM) were urged to use this kit to detect PAHs and water resources of fish.
The kit which won a gold medal in the Malaysia Technology Exhibition (MTE) 2012 is the only kit that can detect PAHs in fish bile and is now ready to be commercialized for use by the target groups.The researchers believe that this innovative invention which involved a two-year study, offers technology that will be very useful for the continuous detection and monitoring of the aquatic environment by the authorities.
Written by Siti Normalis Zakaria (03-8946 6190, MarComm) and photo by Mohd Azreen Awang (03-8946 6199, MarComm).