Monitoring cyanobacterial toxins in a large reservoir: Relationships with water quality parameters


Cyanobacteria are widely distributed in fresh, brackish, and ocean water environments, as well as in soil and on moist surfaces. Changes in the population of cyanobacteria can be an important indicator of alterations in water quality. Metabolites produced by blooms of cyanobacteria can be harmful, so cell counts are frequently monitored to assess the potential risk from cyanobacterial toxins. A frequent uncertainty in these types of assessments is the lack of strong relationships between cell count numbers and algal toxin concentrations. In an effort to use ion concentrations and other water quality parameters to determine the existence of any relationships with cyanobacterial toxin concentrations, we monitored four cyanobacterial toxins and inorganic ions in monthly water samples from a large reservoir over a 2-year period. Toxin concentrations during the study period never exceeded safety limits. In addition, toxin concentrations at levels above the limit of quantitation were infrequent during the 2-year sampling period; non-detects were common. Microcystin-LA was the least frequently detected analyte (86 of 89 samples were ND), followed by the other microcystins (microcystin- RR, microcystin-LR). Cylindrospermopsin and saxitoxin were the most frequently detected analytes. Microcystin and anatoxin concentrations were inversely correlated with Cl-, SO-2 4 , Na+, and NH+4, and directly correlated with turbidity and total P. Cylindrospermopsin and saxitoxin concentrations in water samples were inversely correlated with MgC2 and directly correlated with water temperature. Results of our study are expected to increase the understanding of potential relationships between human activities and water quality.


© 2019 Subbiah et al. cc-by


Algal toxins, Freshwater lake, Water quality


Subbiah, S., Karnjanapiboonwong, A., Maul, J.D., Wang, D., & Anderson, T.A.. 2019. Monitoring cyanobacterial toxins in a large reservoir: Relationships with water quality parameters. PeerJ, 2019(7).