Biodegradation of multiple cyanobacterial metabolites in drinking water supplies

Lionel Ho, Tim Tang, Paul Monis, Daniel Hoefel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    60 Citations (Scopus)


    The fate of multiple cyanobacterial metabolites was assessed in two Australian source waters. The saxitoxins were the only metabolites shown to be non-biodegradable in Myponga Reservoir water, while microcystin-LR (MCLR) and geosmin were biodegradable in this water source. Likewise, cylindrospermopsin (CYN) was shown to be biodegradable in River Murray water. The order of ease of biodegradability followed the trend: MCLR>CYN>geosmin>saxitoxins. Biodegradation of the metabolites was affected by temperature and seasonal variations with more rapid degradation at 24°C and during autumn compared with 14°C and during winter. A microcystin-degrading bacterium was isolated and shown to degrade four microcystin variants within 4h. This bacterium, designated as TT25, was shown to be 99% similar to a Sphingopyxis sp. based on a 16S rRNA gene fragment. Isolate TT25 was shown to contain a homologue of the mlrA gene; the sequence of which was 99% similar to that of a previously reported microcystin-degrader. Furthermore, isolate TT25 could degrade the microcystins in the presence of copper sulphate (0.5mgL -1 as Cu 2+) which is advantageous for water authorities dosing such algicides into water bodies to control cyanobacterial blooms.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1149-1154
    Number of pages6
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


    • Biodegradation
    • Cyanobacteria
    • Cylindrospermopsin
    • Geosmin
    • Microcystins
    • Saxitoxins


    Dive into the research topics of 'Biodegradation of multiple cyanobacterial metabolites in drinking water supplies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this