We demonstrated the quantitative detection of a toxin-producing Microcystis aeruginosa (M. aeruginosa) strain with the laboratory protocol of the NanoGene assay. The NanoGene assay was selected because its laboratory protocol is in the process of being transplanted into a portable system. The mcyD gene of M. aeruginosa was targeted and, as expected, its corresponding fluorescence signal was linearly proportional to the mcyD gene copy number. The sensitivity of the NanoGene assay for this purpose was validated using both dsDNA mcyD gene amplicons and genomic DNAs (gDNA). The limit of detection was determined to be 38 mcyD gene copies per reaction and 9 algal cells/ml water. The specificity of the assay was also demonstrated by the addition of gDNA extracted from environmental algae into the hybridization reaction. Detection of M. aeruginosa was performed in the environmental samples with environmentally relevant sensitivity (similar to 10(5) algal cells/ml) and specificity. As expected, M. aeruginosa were not detected in nonspecific environmental algal gDNA over the range of 2 x 10(0) to 2 x 10(7) algal cells/ml.