Special Issue “Freshwater Cyanobacterial Toxins: Developments in Monitoring, Identification, Impacts and Factors Influencing Production” – Toxins

Dear Colleagues,

Freshwater cyanobacteria are known to produce a suite of different chemicals that can be toxic to many organisms. These toxins can have adverse impacts on humans, animals, and even aquatic and terrestrial plants. Further information about cyanobacterial toxins is required to better understand and manage their risks in freshwater environments. This Special Issue aims to bring together papers that provide new information on the monitoring of cyanobacterial toxins and the identification of toxins in freshwater environments. Further, papers are invited that develop our knowledge of how cyanobacterial toxins impact humans, as well as different aquatic and terrestrial organisms. Papers that better develop our understanding of how toxin production by cyanobacteria is regulated are also welcomed.

Assoc. Prof. Simon Mitrovic
Dr. Ambrose Furey
Guest Editors

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2019.

Visit the Special Issue webpage here.



Short Total Synthesis of [15N5]-Cylindrospermopsins from 15NH4Cl Enables Precise Quantification of Freshwater Cyanobacterial Contamination


From the abstract of a recent parer by Mailyan et al., published in JACS:

“Fresh water cyanobacterial algal blooms represent a major health risk because these organisms produce cylindrospermopsin, a toxic, structurally complex, zwitterionic uracil-guanidine alkaloid recognized by the EPA as a dangerous drinking water contaminant. At present, the ability to detect and quantify the presence of cylindrospermospin in water samples is severely hampered by the lack of an isotopically labeled standard for analytical mass spectrometry. Herein, we present a concise, scaled total synthesis of 15N cylindrospermosin from 15N ammonium chloride, which leverages a unique stereoselective intramolecular double conjugate addition step to assemble the tricyclic guanidine core. In addition to providing the first pure isotopically labeled probe for precise quantification of this potent biotoxin in fresh water sources, our results demonstrate how unique constraints associated with isotope incorporation compel novel solutions to synthesis design.”


Artur K. Mailyan, Joanna L. Chen, Weiwei Li, Arturo A. Keller, Shawn M. Sternisha, Brian G. Miller, and Armen ZakarianShort (2018). Total Synthesis of [15N5]-Cylindrospermopsins from 15NH4Cl Enables Precise Quantification of Freshwater Cyanobacterial Contamination. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2018 140 (18), 6027-6032. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b03071

ICHA2018 Session : Toxin Analysis – Novel detection methods

A Session on Toxin Analysis – Novel detection methods is chaired by Ana GAGO (Univ. Vigo, Spain) with co-chairs Ronel BIRE / Zouher AMZIL, within ICHA2018  in Nantes (21 to 26 October 2018).

Determination of toxins has to address many challenges related to the diversity of compounds, the complexity of the matrices, the availability of standards and reference materials etc. A wide array of techniques is available among which functional assays, biochemical assays and chemical methods but may not address all the issues related to the analysis of the toxins. New detection methods taking on board the latest technical advances are necessary as they offer novel approaches.

The deadline for abstract submission is 15 April 2018 !!!

See the list of session topics of ICHA2018.

Postdoc position for the analysis of microcystins in fish, Toronto, Canada

Dear colleagues,

We are looking to fill in a postdoctoral position at the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (Toronto). The successful candidate will work on a project to develop and validate a method for the analysis of microcystins in fish, analyze a variety of experimental and environmental fish samples, interpret the results and publish findings in peer-reviewed scientific literature. The ideal candidate would have broad experience/knowledge in method development, sample preparation and mass spectrometry. The position is for one-year with potential to extend for additional 6 months. To apply for the position (with CV and transcript) or for more information please contact Dr. Xavier Ortiz via email (xavier.ortiz@ontario.ca).

Please feel free to share this opportunity with anyone you think may be interested in.


Xavier Ortiz Almirall, Ph.D.

Development Scientist

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change of Ontario
125 Resources Road l M9P 3V6 (ON) Toronto


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

Keynote speakers announced: Michael Quilliam and Olivier Ploux – 6th International Symposium “Marine and Freshwater Toxins Analysis”

Keynote speakers of the 6th International Symposium “Marine and Freshwater Toxins Analysis” were announced:

Michael Quilliam
  • Michael A. Quilliam (NRC Canada) will talk on “Recent Developments in Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry of Algal Toxins” on 23 October 2017.
Olivier Ploux
  • Olivier Ploux (Chimie ParisTech) will talk on “Anatoxin-a and analogs: occurrence, biosynthesis and detection” on 24 October 2017.

The Symposium will take place in Baiona, Spain, on 22-25 October 2017. See more details in the Symposium Website and details of the keynote speakers here.


6th International Symposium “Marine and Freshwater Toxins Analysis” , Baiona, Spain, 22-25 October 2017

The 6th International Symposium “Marine and Freshwater Toxins Analysis” will be held on 22-25 October 2017 in Baiona, Spain.

Principle organizer is the University of Vigo, Spain (Prof. Ana Gago-Martinez), home to the Department of Analytical and Food Chemistry with the close collaboration of the European Reference Laboratory for Marine Biotoxins located in the Campus of the University of Vigo.

The Symposium will address updated issues on the field of the analysis of marine and freshwater toxins, with special focus on new method developments and implementations. A variety of methods needs, for detecting marine and freshwater existing and emerging toxins will be addressed in presentations and focused discussions.

You are invited to submit abstracts till 15th September (updated) in the following topics:

– Advances in the analysis of existing and emerging marine and freshwater toxins.

– Mass spectrometry, molecular methods, toxicity assays, bioassays and screening tests.

– Structural characterization of new potential toxins.

– Towards standardization and accreditation of analytical methods for marine and freshwater toxins.

You can download the Symposium’s Flyer and distribute it to anyone who is interested in the topics of the Symposium.

Visit the Symposium’s website for more details.

The Symposium is supported by CYANOCOST.


CYANOCOST presentations (video) at the 5th Joint Symposium and AOAC Task Force Meeting Marine & Freshwater Toxins Analysis

The Fifth Joint Symposium and AOAC Task Force Meeting, was held in Baiona, Spain, on June 14-17 2015. The symposium was jointly organized by the Univesity of Vigo, AOAC and CYANOCOST. The Symposium Chair was Dr Ana Gago-Martinez of the Department of Analytical and Food Chemistry, University of Vigo and head of the European Reference Laboratory for Marine Biotoxins which is located in the campus of the University.

The Symposium addressed the state-of-the-art and advances on the field of the analysis of Marine and Freshwater toxins, with regards to new method development, validation and implementation. While previous editions of the Symposium concerned only marine toxins (e.g. saxitoxins, domoic acids, okadaic acids, azaspiracids etc), the 2015 Symposium focused also on freshwater cyanotoxins (e.g. microcystins, cylindrospermopsin, anatoxin, emerging toxins). This was achieve through co-organization with CYANOCOST, plenary presentations by CYANOCOST speakers, participation of CYANOCOST experts in AOAC task-force meeting and discussions between “marine” and “freshwater” experts.

The presentations are available online:

Vitor Vasconcelos (keynote): “Current and emerging methods for the analysis of cyanobacteria toxins: challenges and needs”

Shmuel Carmeli: “Non -Toxic Mediators of Cyanobacteria Toxic Metabolites – Do We Overlook Their Importance?”

Hanna Mazur-Marzec: “Toxins and other bioactive metabolites produced by the Baltic cyanobacteria”

Emanuela Testai: “Cyanotoxins as emerging contaminants in matrixes other than water and health implications”

Leonardo Cerasino: “Shift from microcystins dominance to anatoxin-a dominance in the cyanotoxin population of lake garda”

Triantafyllos Kaloudis: “Laboratory accreditation of freshwater cyanotoxin analysis. Current status, gaps and future prospects”

All the Symposium presentations can be found here.


Jussi Meriluoto presents “The Uzice case” at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris

Jussi Meriluoto gives a seminar titled “The Uzice case” on 19 January 2017 at the Bio-organic Mass-Spectrometry Technical Platform of the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris.


The Uzice case. (J. Meriluoto, Z. Svircev). Abstract:

An intensive bloom of the cyanobacterium Planktothrix rubescens was observed in the Vrutci reservoir in December 2013. The blooming reservoir served as the drinking water source for the city of Užice, Serbia, with 70,000 inhabitants. Filaments of the cyanobacterium were found in the treated water and there were complaints about discoloured tap water. The MC-LR concentration in a drinking water sample was below the WHO provisional guideline value (1 µg/L) according to analyses provided by the Institute of Public Health Serbia. Despite this, the Sanitary Inspectorate of the Republic of Serbia decided to ban the use of tap water for drinking and cooking purposes to protect the health of the inhabitants of Užice. The situation soon resulted in unrest among the citizens. The toxicity of the cyanobacterial biomass was first shown by A. salina bioassays. Microcystin(s) were later detected by LC-MS/MS in samples of the reservoir and tap water, and in fish captured from the reservoir. Data about the water use and the health of the inhabitants were collected with the help of a questionnaire which clearly indicated a number of health issues. An epidemiological investigation also showed an elevated occurrence of digestive tract and skin diseases compared to earlier years, possibly as a result of exposure to the cyanobacterial material/metabolites. Based on the evidence found, it is likely that a cyanobacterial bloom occurred in the reservoir already before 2013. Lessons from the Užice case are many. The presentation discusses i) the importance of interaction between academia and authorities, ii) proper monitoring of cyanobacterial hazards, iii) the necessity of adequate information and advice to the general public, iv) guidelines and legislation, and v) collection of exposure and health data complementary to analytical results. Further, the authors would like to underline the recurrent role of Planktothrix sp. in drinking water quality problems.

Further reading:

Svirčev, Z., D. Drobac, N. Tokodi, D. Đenić, J. Simeunović, A. Hiskia, T. Kaloudis, B. Mijović, S. Šušak, M. Protić, M. Vidović, A. Onjia, S. Nybom, T. Važić, T. Palanački Malešević, T. Dulić, D. Pantelić, M. Vukašinović & J. Meriluoto (2017) Lessons from the Užice case: how to complement analytical dataHandbook of Cyanobacterial Monitoring and Cyanotoxin Analysis (J. Meriluoto, L. Spoof & G. A. Codd, Eds.), Chichester: Wiley.

Svirčev, Z., D. Drobac, N. Tokodi, B. Mijović, G. A. Codd & J. Meriluoto (2017) Toxicology of microcystins with reference to cases of human intoxications and epidemiological investigations of exposures to cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins – Archives of Toxicology, pp.1-30,  doi:10.1007/s00204-016-1921-6


Landmark CYANOCOST publication: The Handbook of Cyanobacterial Monitoring and Cyanotoxin Analysis

The Handbook of Cyanobacterial Monitoring and Cyanotoxin Analysis, a major publication by CYANOCOST is published and available from Wiley and Amazon.com. A must have for laboratories, researchers and water authorities working on cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins.

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