This research note comes at the crossroads of the following works:
- Exposing The Invisible, Bio-Investigation
- Hack2Eaux, Kaouenn Noz Biohackerspace
- Home Testing for Endocrine Disruptors, PublicLab
You can also find a wiki page in Pubic Lab: "Bioassay"
The aim is to compile the available scientific resources on "seed bioessay tests" concerning water (tap water, river water, construction site runoff); to operate a scientific mediation to make this knowledge available to as many concerned people as possible; and finally, to design and make available a "home self-testing" protocol that is effectively reproducible and can be implemented with "the basic equipment available in a kitchen"⋅
Publishing methods, plans, protocols under a free and open source license is not enough to facilitate the learning of a solution.
The materiality conditions, i.e. the availability of materials, the costs of these materials, the logistics of supply; access to the internet¹ and all other difficulties must be considered as serious development factors.
A person living in a Western European city can have a supermarket, a pharmacy, a school or university, a DIY store within a geographical radius of less than 10km; as well as a sufficient minimum income allowing him/her to spend several tens of euros without threatening his/her diet or access to healthcare.
This situation is not a common standard for all people, neither in Europe nor elsewhere in the world¹.
Therefore, we consider that a proposed solution that does not consider these factors seriously is not a free solution, nor a viable solution.
How to choose seeds for bioassay and and where to find them?
How to choose equipment and Material
Training on "Bioassay Test with seed to expose toxicity". Practice and learn before you start
Tips! Germination rate gives a good indication of several contaminants including salt and chlorine. Make agar plates using the water and grow. One issue is high nitrogen is bad for us but good for plants so confounding variable
Third party assistance & analysis
Acknowledgement and thanks
Sebastian Cocioba (Binomica Labs) ; Lula (Hackteria and Biohackersapce Montpellier (France) ; @bhamster (Public Lab)
Lettuce seed bioassays have proven to be an easy and inexpensive means of testing the toxicity of some types of contaminants of concern in water and sediments, including heavy metals and some pesticides and other organic toxicants. Environmental Inquiry
COLLECTING WATER-QUALITY SAMPLES FOR DISSOLVED METALS-IN-WATER U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6
EPA Guidelines Regulatory monitoring and testing Water and wastewater sampling 2007
"When choosing a bioassay organism, investigators need to consider which compounds or organism responses are of most concern. Seed bioassays are very sensitive to herbicides and fairly sensitive to metals. They are less sensitive than fish or invertebrate assays to industrial chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or solvents" What Killed The Seeds NOAA Lesson
The National Seed Health System (NSHS) laboratory-based Seed Health Testing methods examine for plant pathogens in seeds. A comprehensive list of approved NSHS Seed Health Testing Methods & Codes are published here: https://seedhealth.org/seed-health-testing-methods/
Notes and References
1: One third of the world's population, or 2.9 billion people, are nt connected to the Internet − International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and UN, November 2021. This is 800 million more people than before the pandemic.