Understanding the Risks of Diffusion of Cyanobacteria Toxins in Rivers, Lakes, and Potable Water

Toxins (Basel). 2023 Sep 20;15(9):582. doi: 10.3390/toxins15090582.


Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, may be prevalent in our rivers and tap water. These minuscule bacteria can grow swiftly and form blooms in warm, nutrient-rich water. Toxins produced by cyanobacteria can pollute rivers and streams and harm the liver and nervous system in humans. This review highlights the properties of 25 toxin types produced by 12 different cyanobacteria genera. The review also covered strategies for reducing and controlling cyanobacteria issues. These include using physical or chemical treatments, cutting back on fertilizer input, algal lawn scrubbers, and antagonistic microorganisms for biocontrol. Micro-, nano- and ultrafiltration techniques could be used for the removal of internal and extracellular cyanotoxins, in addition to powdered or granular activated carbon, ozonation, sedimentation, ultraviolet radiation, potassium permanganate, free chlorine, and pre-treatment oxidation techniques. The efficiency of treatment techniques for removing intracellular and extracellular cyanotoxins is also demonstrated. These approaches aim to lessen the risks of cyanobacterial blooms and associated toxins. Effective management of cyanobacteria in water systems depends on early detection and quick action. Cyanobacteria cells and their toxins can be detected using microscopy, molecular methods, chromatography, and spectroscopy. Understanding the causes of blooms and the many ways for their detection and elimination will help the management of this crucial environmental issue.

Keywords: Anabaena; Microcystis; biocontrol; cyanobacteria blooms; cyanotoxins; cylindrospermopsin; satellite imagery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cyanobacteria Toxins
  • Diffusion
  • Drinking Water*
  • Humans
  • Lakes
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Drinking Water
  • Cyanobacteria Toxins

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.