‘Lab in a Can’ Puts Underwater Worlds in Closer Reach

BY News Desk  May 20, 2011 at 11:09 AM EST

Microbiologists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute have developed a machine that uses built-in robotics to study water quality while underwater.

The Environmental Sample Processor, known as “Lab in a Can,” relies on intake valves to draw in seawater with a syringe, sends that water through a filter and then analyzes particles and underwater organisms.

“The machine can do tests ranging from detecting microbes and toxins to basic DNA analysis,” reports science correspondent Miles O’Brien for the National Science Foundation’s* latest Science Nation piece.

Find more coverage on our science page.

*For the record, NSF is a NewsHour underwriter.