LightForm Imaging Spectrograph Can Detect Toxic Algae In The Field


    In August 2019, nationally syndicated press channels reported the tragic death of three family dogs after they went swimming in a Wilmington, NC pond. Shortly after the swim, all three pets succumbed to poisoning by highly toxic yet undetectable blue-green algae from the pond.

    If you live in an area with large bodies of stagnant water such as lakes or ponds, you need to know whether these ponds have developed algal blooms. Some species of blue-green algae are undetectable and are dangerous and even fatal to you, your family, and your pets. The CDC reports that there are no remedies to counteract its effects. 

    LightForm, an Asheville-based manufacturer has developed the (Prism And Mirror Imaging Spectroscopy System) PARISS® imaging spectrograph and spectrometer. The spectrometer is compact and weighs 1.25 kg, making it ideal for use in the field by local water management agencies and laboratories detect and warn you of algal blooms in your area.

    The compact imaging spectrometer for biological applications is bundled with proprietary software to perform basic spectral analyses, spectral classification & recognition, create spectral libraries, and represent data. The field research spectrometer can be used to perform micro-to-macro spectroscopy or material & object recognition in air or water samples.

    Field models of the PARISS® imaging spectrometer can detect the beginnings of visible or invisible cyanobacteria blooms in large or small water bodies. 

    PARISS® technology is used in research facilities around the world and is valuable to agencies such as the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. The department periodically publishes maps of reported blue-green algae blooms and this new spectrometer can be used to prevent tragedies and losses of life due to toxic algae poisoning.

    The PARISS® imaging spectrometer is available as a configurable kit and is compatible with readily available illumination products & scientific cameras. The kit offers high spectral resolution from 1 nanometer for large and small objects. The device weighs 1.25 kg and has a spectral range of 365 to ~920 nm.

    For more information about imaging spectroscopy to detect algal blooms, call 908-281-9098 and visit