NWU home to largest Zebra fish bioassay facility in Africa

Belinda Bantham -- Wed, 06/13/2018 - 10:09

NWU home to largest Zebra fish bioassay facility in Africa

The Water research group in the Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management (UESM) at the North-West University (NWU) installed the National Aquatic Bioassay Facility (NABF) in September 2017. Not only is the 515m2   facility the largest Zebra fish bioassay facility in Africa, but it is also the second largest in the southern hemisphere.

The facility is currently equipped with four Zebra fish multi-linking housing systems, one quarantine standalone system, four toxicity rack systems, a behaviour room (Noldus®) and two amphibian housing systems – each housed in individual temperature controlled rooms. A marine room is to be fully installed by the end of 2018. The NABF furthermore houses live feed units containing rotifers and artemia, algae cultures, agar plates housing Caenorhabditis elegans (nematodes), Daphnia magna cultures, Danio rerio (Zebra fish) and Xenopus (Müller’s platanna and African frog).

By integrating Noldus® and Loligo® Systems technology within the facility organisms can be quantitatively studied from the embryo (DanioScope™), larval (DanioVision™) and adult developmental stages.

Since the development of the NABF, researchers from all over the world and South Africa have come together in the form of collaborations and training initiatives. The Zebra fish Interest Group of South Africa also hosted their inaugural meeting within the NABF, and during the event researchers from several different institutions and research backgrounds had the opportunity to present their findings as well as exchange knowledge, experiences and ask questions relating to Zebra fish. The accredited short course on Ectotherm vertebrate handling and ethics also takes place within the NABF at the NWU four times per year.

* Funding for the NABF was obtained by Prof Victor Wepener from the National Research Foundation National Nanotechnology Equipment Programme.

The National Aquatic Bioassay Facility (NABF) was established in September 2017.