Metabolic solutions to the biosynthesis of BMAA and 2,4-DAB in cyanobacteria

The pathways of BMAA (and the related 2,4-DAB) biosynthesis in cyanobacteria are not known. A recent review by Peter Nunn and Geoffrey Codd considers possible metabolic routes, by analogy with reactions used in other species, by which these amino acids might be biosynthesised by cyanobacteria, which are a widespread potential environmental source of these neurotoxins.

Reference: Nunn, P. B. and Codd, G. A. (2017). “Metabolic solutions to the biosynthesis of some diaminomonocarboxylic acids in nature: Formation in cyanobacteria of the neurotoxins 3-N-methyl-2,3-diaminopropanoic acid (BMAA) and 2,4-diaminobutanoic acid (2,4-DAB)”. Phytochemistry 144, 253-270.

Microcystin-LR included in the proposed revision of the Drinking Water Directive !

The European Commission has issued a proposal for a Directive on the Quality of Water Intended for Human Consumption. The proposal is a recast of Directive 98/83/EC, which was amended in 2003, 2009 and 2015.

Microcystin-LR is included in the proposal as a “Chemical Parameter”, with a parametric value of 1μg/L, along with other organic compounds that are added in the list (Bisphenol A, Haloacetic acids, Nonylphenol, PFAS). Performance criteria for determination of MC-LR are specified as 30% uncertainty at the parametric value, while methods should comply to the requirements of ISO 17025.

Inclusion of MC-LR in the proposed Directive is a result of increased occurrence of microcystins in European waters and beyond, as well as of increased awareness of the health risks and hazards associated with toxic cyanobacteria. CYANOCOST has significant contributions in this field, including two books on chemical analysis of cyanotoxins and molecular detection of toxigenic cyanobacteria and many joint parers on cyanotoxin research. Since 2012, CYANOCOST has also contributed in raising awareness of cyanotoxins in Europe; in this sense, the proposed Directive is rewarding of the vast amount of voluntarily work done within the Network and highlights the important societal impact of COST Actions.

The proposed Directive is under public consultation till 2 April 2018. You can download the related documents and submit your feedback here.



Just published : January 2018 issue of the “Freshwater HABs Newsletter” (US-EPA) (available online)

The January 2018 Issue of the US-EPA “Freshwater HABs Newsletter” (published by Dr. Lesley V. D’Anglada) is now available through the USEPA’s CyanoHABs Website.

It features the new International Benthic HABs Workgroup, the Great Lakes HABs collaboratory Video, the open-accesss CYANOCOST special issue in AOL, upcoming events, published articles and important links.

You can download the Newsletter here.


Available now ! Updated list of CYANOCOST publications – 201 published items

A complete list of all publications that acknowledge CYANOCOST as of December 2017 is now available in the “Publications” page of The list contains as much as 201 published items, with citations and DOI links.

It includes:

– 86 peer-reviewed papers in various journals

– 15 papers of the CYANOCOST Special Issue in Aquatic Ecology

– 14 papers of the CYANOCOST Special Issue in AIOL

– 66 Chapters and SOPs of the Handbook of Cyanobacterial Monitoring and Cyanotoxin Analysis

– 16 Chapters of the Molecular Tools for the Detection and Quantification of Toxigenic Cyanobacteria

– 3 other book chapters

– the Potentially Toxic Cyanobacteria in inland waters of Slovenia book

– a publicized article.

The list is available as a pdf file with DOI links to the publisher’s websites, as well as a compressed (.zip) EndNote library.

As the CYANOCOST library is still being populated, you are welcome to submit your papers that acknowledge CYANOCOST to be included in the next update of the library.

Download the pdf file.

Download the EndNote library.


Toxic cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins in European waters – A review of CYANOCOST contributions

A review by Meriluoto et al. (Advances in Oceanography and Limnology, 2017; 8(1): 161-178) summarizes the outcomes of some recent European research concerning toxic cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins, with an emphasis on developments within the framework of the CYANOCOST Action. Highlights of the Action include phycological and ecological studies, development of advanced techniques for cyanotoxin analysis, elucidation of cyanotoxin modes of action, management techniques to reduce cyanobacterial mass development, and research on methods and practices for cyanotoxin removal during drinking water treatment. The authors have identified a number of gaps in knowledge. Proposed directions for future research on toxic cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins are also discussed.

The review is open-access and can be downloaded here.

This review is published within the CYANOCOST Special Issue in AIOL that can be downloaded here.


Distribution of Toxic Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins in Turkish Waterbodies

A recent paper by Latife Koker et al. (2017) presents results of the ‘SIYANOTOKS’ project that was carried out in Turkey by the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, the General Directorate of Water Management in cooperation with the research group of Prof. Reyhan Akcaalan and Prof. Meric Albay, of Istanbul University, Faculty of Fisheries (now Faculty of Aquatic Sciences).
The project  monitored cyanobacteria and their toxins in 18 selected waterbodies in Turkey: 7 natural lakes, 8 reservoirs, 1 lagoon and 2 coastal and transitional waters
in Turkey. Potentially toxic cyanobacteria species were detected in 14 waterbodies and blooms were observed in 57% of them. A highest concentration of Microcystin-LR eq. was 29.7 μg/l and cylindrospermopsin was 9 μg/l. These results showed that cyanotoxin problems are very common in Turkish surface waters and regulation in drinking and
recreational waters should be implemented. The paper acknowledges CYANOCOST for networking and sharing of knowledge.

Reference: Koker et al. (2017), Journal of Environmental Protection and Ecology, 18(2), 425-432. Available on-line (open access). 

Updated list of cyanobacteria species associated with the production of cyanotoxins !

A large diversity of cyanobacteria is associated with the production of cyanotoxins. Appendix 2 of the Handbook of Cyanobacterial Monitoring and Cyanotoxin Analysis reports an updated list of cyanobacterial species or genera: (i) producing toxin from isolated strains or (ii) suspected to produce toxins, based on data obtained from environmental samples. The original species names assigned (or successively modified) by the indicated authors have been updated following the more recent changes in the taxonomic literature. A selected list of papers describing the presence of different cyanotoxins measured in samples containing cyanobacterial assemblages was also listed.

This list is Open Access and can be downloaded here.


Bernard, C., Ballot, A., Thomazeau, S., Maloufi, S., Furey, A., Mankiewicz-Boczek, J., Pawlik-Skowrońska, B., Capelli, C. and Salmaso, N. (2016) Appendix 2: Cyanobacteria Associated With the Production of Cyanotoxins, in Handbook of Cyanobacterial Monitoring and Cyanotoxin Analysis (eds J. Meriluoto, L. Spoof and G. A. Codd), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781119068761.app2

Answer to an annoying question: How many microcystin and nodularin congeners reported so far?

Ever wonder how many microcystin and nodularin congeners are reported in the literature so far? This question always pops up when writing your paper’s introduction or preparing your next presentation ? Where you embarrassed when you thought “about 70” and a reviewer commented “please review and cite…”?

Take a guess : 80 ? Maybe 100 ? or 150 ? More ???

Click the “link to the answer” below and you will be surprised !

The link takes you to the “Tables of Microcystins and Nodularins”, compiled by Lisa Spoof and Arnaud Catherine for the “Handbook of Cyanobacterial Monitoring and Cyanotoxin Analysis” recently published by Wiley. The tables contain the most updated list of reported MCs and NODs.

The link to the answer.

Now you have both the correct number and the citation !


Published ! CYANOCOST Special Issue in AIOL (open access)

The CYANOCOST special issue in Advances in Oceanography and Limnology (AIOL) is a collection of 13 papers  grouped under six thematic topics that resulted from international collaboration within CYANOCOST. There was a great interest for this Themed Issue expressed by numerous authors across Europe. We believe that many of the articles will have long-lasting usefulness for the CYANOCOST community as well as for a broad audience of international researchers and experts.

The topics of the AIOL issue are:

– Cyanobacteria occurrence

– Cyanobacteria and cyanotoxin environmental occurrence and monitoring

– Cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins in drinking water – occurrence, monitoring, removal methods

– Cyanotoxin detection techniques

– Cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins long term monitoring/reviews for specific geographical regions

The collection also includes a Review/synoptic paper of CYANOCOST research.

We want to acknowledge and congratulate the four Guest Editors of this Themed Issue, Pavel Babica, Camilla Capelli, Damjana Drobac and Spyros Gkelis, for their highly professional editorial work. The Co-Editor in-Chief of Advances in Oceanography and Limnology Nico Salmaso is cordially thanked for his help and goodwill in realizing the Themed Issue.

The Special Issue is  open access. The papers can be viewed and downloaded here.