Release of intracellular cyanotoxins during oxidation of natural bloom samples and laboratory cultured cells


Two-year WaterRA project to investigate how pre-oxidation of cyanobacterial populations in source water and wastewater lagoons influences subsequent treatment of both cells and cyanotoxins. This project will improve our knowledge of the phenomena governing the oxidation of cyanobacteria and the release of cyanotoxins.

Successful oxidation of cyanobacterial cells and their associated toxins is a major challenge for water utilities during water treatment and wastewater reuse. Traditional oxidation by chlorine can lyse cells and release toxins into the water, while also producing disinfection by-products. Hydrogen peroxide has been shown to be effective for the destruction of cyanobacterial cells and it has the additional benefit of breaking down into benign products. However, it is not clear what effect the hydrogen peroxide will have, if any, on the toxins released due to cell lysis.

Focused Research Questions:

1. What is the mass balance of cyanotoxins following the application of different oxidants to cyanobacterial populations?
2. What is the effect of hydrogen peroxide on cells and cyanotoxins?
3. How does natural organic matter influence the oxidation of cyanobacteria?
4. Can we develop a predictive model of cyanobacterial oxidation for source water and wastewater lagoons?

Key Outcomes:

Application of different oxidants to treat Microcystis bloom from wastewater lagoon (WaterRA1104, M2)
Assessement of pre-oxidation on lab-cultured cells and organic matter using hydrogen peroxide (WaterRA1104, M3)


Rita Henderson
Arash Zamyadi
Magdalena Baresova
Richard Stuetz
Daisy Chu
Bojan Tamburic


University of New South Wales | Melbourne Water | WaterNSW | WaterRA

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