A novel technology for eDNA collection and concentration

This project will develop a novel aquatic eDNA collection and concentration technology for more efficient, reliable and cost-effective screening for not only invasive aquatic organisms and pathogens but also native and endangered species. The technology would significantly improve aquatic ecosystem survey and management programs in Minnesota. 

Although some success has been found with using eDNA to find and quantify populations, they typically require numerous samples from each site and are prone to either false positives or false negatives. This improved sampling technique will reduce costs per sample, reduce staff time needed for sampling, and improve the accuracy and efficiency of current detection methods.

Specifically, this project will:

  • Develop an eDNA nanofilter that specifically and rapidly captures DNA and RNA from water
  • Develop a housing system for the nanofilter to allow field deployment and continuous sampling of large water volumes or large areas
  • Verify increased eDNA sampling efficiency of the new device in field settings


Development of the eDNA filter is underway as of January 2019. The nanofilter will have a high affinity to nucleic acids using nanoparticle functionalized membranes. The nanofilter will enable eDNA capture during water filtration. The second phase of this activity will be focused on developing a housing system for the nanofilter. The housing system includes a water pump to allow water circulation through the filter and a grid housing the membrane.

Project manager: Abdennour Abbas

Funded by: Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources

Project start date: 2018

Estimated project end date: 2020