Algal and Other Environmental Toxins Laboratory — Lawrence, Kansas

Science Center Objects

About the Laboratory

Scientists at the Organic Geochemistry Research Laboratory (OGRL) in Lawrence, Kansas, develop and employ targeted and non-targeted analytical methods for identification and quantitation of known and understudied algal/cyanobacterial toxins.  Our newly contructed (2019) 2,500 square foot modern laboratory facility has enhanced capabilities for algal toxin detection with increased throughput. This information is used in research to meet the growing demand for reliable algal toxin data and better definition of potential human and wildlife health effect thresholds of toxin exposure.

Current Algal/Cyanobacterial Toxins Capabilities

Two scientists viewing data on a computer screen

Scientists reviewing data to determine instrument performance at the Algal Toxins Laboratory in Lawrence Kansas.

(Credit: Keith Loftin, USGS. Public domain.)



  • anatoxin-a 
  • BMAA 
  • cylindrospermopsin 
  • 10 microcystins 
  • nodularin-R 
  • saxitoxins

Marine Toxins 

  • azaspiracid-1
  • domoic acid 
  • dinophysistoxin-2 
  • gymnodimine 
  • okadaic acid 
  • pectinotoxin-2
  • 13-desmethyl-spirolide C
  • saxitoxins

Key Instrumentation

  • New (2019) 2,500 square foot modern laboratory facility
  • Onebioinert liquid chromatography triple quadrupole mass spectrometers for quantitation
  • One bioinert liquid chromatography high resolution mass spectrometers for identification of unknown chemicals and biomarkers of exposure
  • One tritimeter
  • An automated bioassay plate reader for toxin screening and toxicity endpoint measurement
  • An infrared spectrophotometer for chemical screening and structure illucidation
  • A handheld x-ray fluorescence analyzer for elemental analysis screening (such as metals)
  • One handheld hyperspectral radiometer for satellite validation
Keith A. Loftin, USGS, is the lead scientist for algal and cyanobacterial toxins

Keith A. Loftin, USGS, is the lead scientist for algal and cyanobacterial toxins laboratory and the Algal and other Natural Toxins Integrated Science Team (Credit: Ariel Donovan, USGS. Public domain.)