Special Issue “Harmful Cyanobacteria and Their Metabolites” – Applied Sciences

Dear Colleagues,

The ongoing eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems has increased cyanobacterial blooms and also intensified the problems caused by the blooms. Harmful cyanobacteria and their toxic metabolites are known to cause health concerns in humans, animals, and plants, and water-users continue to experience cyanobacterial hazards and nuisance in Europe and other parts of the world as evidenced by some recent events.

The Special Issue “Harmful Cyanobacteria and Their Metabolites” in the journal Applied Sciences has a wide scope and it is intended to address some of the gaps in our knowledge concerning the management of cyanobacterial problems. It deals with, e.g., the occurrence of harmful cyanobacteria, methods for the analysis of noxious cyanometabolites, fate/impact/health effects of cyanotoxins, as well as management measures related to harmful cyanobacteria.

Some examples of work relevant for the Special Issue includes manuscripts on toxic invasive cyanobacteria; occurrence of toxic cyanobacteria in less-studied environments; cyanobacterial adaptations to climate change especially in relation to toxin production; cyanobacterial production of taste and odor compounds; management of harmful cyanobacteria in protected ecosystems; exposure assessment and effects of cyanotoxins in aquatic and terrestrial organisms including humans; novel methods for monitoring and analysis of cyanotoxins; prevention and control measures for the elimination of cyanobacterial problems. Review papers promoting international initiatives for the management of cyanobacterial problems may also be considered if presented with a strong scientific rationale but the potential authors of such papers are encouraged to contact the Guest Editors in advance.

Dr. Jussi Meriluoto
Dr. Nada Tokodi
Guest Editors

Link to the webpage of the Issue.

Download the flyer of the Issue.

Exciting PhD position at the Research Department for Limnology, Mondsee, Austria

Harmful algal blooms formed by cyanobacteria (cyanoHABs) not only deteriorate ecosystem services but cause significant economic losses because of managing and treating drinking water and food supplies. Among those toxins, most prominent are the microcystins (and related peptides), i.e. by inhibiting eukaryotic protein phosphatases 1 and 2A of higher organisms. Intracellular toxic peptides can be released into the surrounding environment either through cell lysis or through active transport out of the cell.
One possibility to investigate cyanotoxins on the individual cell level is the so-called bioorthogonal labeling. In vivo labeling of cyanotoxins/peptides is based on the discovery of unspecific key enzymes involved in the synthesis pathway of those compounds which also can use non-natural functional groups as precursors. The resulting modified molecule is subsequently labeled by a fluorophore through a so-called click chemistry reaction. We will perform cyanotoxin/peptide labeling and high resolution imaging to localize, quantify and reveal inter/intracellular peptide storage and release using various isolates varying substantially in intra- and extracellular toxic peptide content (0-60% of the total content).
The tasks of this position will include (i) the integration of the data on cyanotoxin/peptide localization, and labeling of metabolites, (ii) experiments on strain-specific variation and stress-induced variation. The PhD candidate will be responsible for collecting the data on peptide localization using high resolution microscopy and further analysis using advanced imaging software, as well as to analyze the strain-specific and stress induced variation under controlled laboratory conditions.

Download the full call (pdf).

Further Information: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rainer Kurmayer
Research Department for Limnology Mondsee, University of Innsbruck, Austria
email: rainer.kurmayer@uibk.ac.at
For application please send a motivation letter together with a CV (in English) until 15 September 2019.



Special Issue”Recent Developments in LC-MS of Algal Toxins: Present and Future Challenges”- Toxins

The combination of liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry (LC-MS) is a valuable tool for the determination of algal toxins contained at trace levels in complex matrices thanks to its high sensitivity, selectivity and ability to deal with the structural diversity and labile nature of the toxins. Targeted LC tandem MS (LC-MS/MS) approaches are already efficiently employed worldwide to monitor toxin distribution in the environment and in the food chain. At the same time, untargeted approaches based on  high resolution MS (LC-HRMS) have generally disclosed the presence of a much higher number and types of toxins and made straightforward elucidation of the gross structure of the unknowns based on the interpretation of their fragmentation patterns.

In view of the plethora of LC-MS/MS and LC-HRMS methods that have been developed so far, the need exists for critical reviews that, besides summarizing the methodologies for determination of each toxin-group, single out the main challenges to be addressed in the next future for marine, freshwater and fish-killing toxins. Collaborative efforts among scientists are strongly encouraged both in the field of the regulated toxins in EU and the emerging ones to build the rational basis for inter-laboratory validation trials, where needed. Original research articles reporting LC-MS based identification of emerging issues for water and food safety potentially associated with climate change as well as recent advancements in LC-MS data acquisition and treatment (On-line SPE-LC-MS, 2D-LC-MS, Metabolomics, among others) will be also included in this Special Issue.

More information can be found at: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/toxins/special_issues/lcms_Algal

Deadline for manuscript submissions is 31 December 2019

Guest Editors: Carmela Dell’Aversano and Luciana Tartaglione, Department of Pharmacy, University of Napoli Federico II


Save the date: 19th ICHA October 11-16, 2020. La Paz, B.C.S. Mexico

The 19th International Conference on Harmful Algae will take place from the 11th to the 16th of October 2020 in La Paz, BCS, Mexico, being the 2nd ICHA conference held in Latin America. As the last conferences, the 2020 conference will include topics related with the understanding of the causes, evolution and impacts of harmful microalgae and cyanobacteria. We are planning an enjoyable meeting where scientists can present their research, share their ideas, establish new collaborations, and connect the science on harmful algae with the beneficiaries of this research.

La Paz is an ideal city for the meeting where many academic institutes are found. It is a small, secure and quiet city, with beautiful surroundings, which is visited by many international tourists and academics year round. The average temperature in October is between 21 and 34 °C.

For some countries a visa may be required. Please check visa regulations well in advance with your local Mexican Consulate for official instructions on the specific visa regulations and application procedures.

As the major host of the conference, ISSHA will support the event with various activities: Travel awards to students and post-docs, several achievement awards, and ISSHA auction.

Looking forward to seeing you in La Paz, Mexico!

The Organizing Committee,


Frontiers Research Topic: Impact of Mycotoxins, Cyanotoxins and Phycotoxins in Food Sustainability

From the webpage of the Frontiers Research Topic:

A sustainable food system is insecure if toxins are a threat. There are three types of natural non-proteinaceous toxins that compromise reliability of food systems: cyanotoxins for freshwater aquatic products, phycotoxins for seafood, and mycotoxins mainly for cereals (also for other plant-based foods and food-products of animal origin).

This Research Topic aims to focus on several knowledge gaps that require in-depth research, with an emphasis on new or emerging toxins recently appearing due to global warming and international trade. In this context, several important issues related to toxins stand out for which new information and scientific evidence should be provided. These issues include: monitoring and analytical challenges (including the requirement for certified reference materials), the need for better understanding of toxin mode of action and toxicology, as well as the need to improve risk assessment, and the development of novel mitigation strategies.

We invite scientists from these relevant fields to contribute to this exciting area of research that combines pharmacology, analytical chemistry, toxicology, mycology, phycology, and food safety.

Topic Editors : Luis M. Botana, Panagiota Katikou, Maria J. Sainz, Alison Robertson

View details about this Research Topic here.



WRF Webcast: Managing Intracellular Cyanotoxin Release During Oxidation Processes in Drinking Water Treatment Plants

Thu, Mar 21, 2019 3:00 PM EDT (9:00 PM EET), 1 hour 30 min

Utilities have been seeking guidance to effectively control cyanobacteria cells and eliminate cyanotoxins using holistic management and treatment strategies. Current guidance suggests that switching water sources or removing intact cells can minimize the risk of releasing intracellular (or cell-bound) cyanotoxins. Our presenters will discuss options to use when this operational flexibility is unavailable, including the deliberate release and treatment of intracellular cyanotoxins using oxidation processes. In addition, the incorporation of intracellular cyanotoxin release into the upcoming CyanoTOX Tool (Version 3) will be presented. The webcast will include information from the WRF Tailored Collaboration project, Release of Intracellular Cyanotoxins During Oxidation of Naturally Occurring and Lab Cultured Cyanobacteria (#4692), which highlights ways to improve available guidance to utilities regarding the release of intracellular cyanotoxins during oxidation of naturally occurring and lab-cultured cyanobacteria.

Eric Wert, PhD, PE, Project Manager, Water Quality Research and Development, Southern Nevada Water Authority
Craig Adams, PhD, PE, Oliver Parks Professor of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, Saint Louis University
Katie Greenstein, PhD, PE, Chemist, Des Moines Water Works
Eric Rosenfeldt, PhD, PE, Senior Principal Engineer, Hazen and Sawyer
Arash Zamyadi, PhD, Assistant Professor, Polytechnique Montreal, University of Montreal, Canada

Djanette Khiari, PhD, Research Manager, The Water Research Foundation

Register here.

WRF logo

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.



Genotoxic effects of the cyanobacterial pentapeptide nodularin in HepG2 cells

A new paper by Stern et al., published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, provides evidence for ROS-mediated genotoxic effects of Nodularin. From the abstract:

“The cyanobacterial pentapeptide nodularin (NOD), mainly produced by genus Nodularia, is a potent inhibitor of protein phosphatases PP1 and PP2A, and causes animal mortality. The few studies available indicate that NOD is a potential non-genotoxic carcinogen. In the present study we evaluated NOD (0.01, 0.1 and 1 μg/ml) genotoxic activity in human hepatoma (HepG2) cells with the comet, γH2AX and cytokinesis block micronucleus cytome assays. In addition, induction of oxidative stress was studied. Moreover changes in the expression of selected genes from the P53 pathway, involved in the response to DNA damage (P53, GADD45α, CDKN1A, MDM2), apoptosis (BAX, BCL2) and oxidative stress (GPX1, GSR, GCLC, CAT, SOD1) were determined using qPCR. Non-cytotoxic concentrations induced time and dose dependant increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and substantially increased the formation of oxidative DNA damage. In addition, elevated formation of micronuclei was detected. For the first time it has been shown that NOD deregulated the mRNA level of DNA damage (CDKN1A, GADD45α) and oxidative stress (GPX1, GSR, GCLC, CAT and SOD1) responsive genes and anti-apoptotic gene BCL2. Our results provide new evidence that NOD genotoxic effects are mediated through ROS production, already at low environmentally relevant concentrations.”

The paper acknowledges CYANOCOST.


A. Štern, A. Rotter, M. Novak, M. Filipič, B. Žegura (2019). Genotoxic effects of the cyanobacterial pentapeptide nodularin in HepG2 cells. Food and Chemical Toxicology 124, 349-358. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2018.12.019

A review of BMAA and its isomeric amino acids in cyanobacteria and cyanobacteria -based food supplements

A review paper on occurrence of BMAA and related compounds in cyanobacteria and food supplements by was recently published by Manolidi et al. in Journal of Hazardous Materials.

“The review critically discusses existing reports regarding the occurrence of BMAA, DAB and AEG in cyanobacteria and cyanobacteria-based food supplements. It is shown that inconsistencies in reported results could be attributed to performance of different methods of extraction and analysis applied and in ambiguities regarding determination of soluble and bound fractions of the compounds. The critical aspect of this review aims to grow awareness of human intake of neurotoxic amino acids, while results presented in literature concerning dietary supplements aim to promote further research, quality control as well as development of guidelines for cyanotoxins in food products.”

The review paper acknowledges CYANOCOST.


Korina Manolidi, Theodoros M. Triantis, Triantafyllos Kaloudis, Anastasia Hiskia (2019). Neurotoxin BMAA and its isomeric amino acids in cyanobacteria and cyanobacteria-based food supplements. Journal of Hazardous Materials 365, 346-365. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2018.10.084

2nd Announcement : ICTC11, Krakow, 5-10 May 2019

We would like to inform you of the second announcement and invite all of you to attend the “11th International Conference on Toxic Cyanobacteria” (ICTC 11), which will be held in Kraków, Poland, from 5 to 10 May 2019. All those interested in ICTC 11 will find detailed information about the conference at http://www.ictc11.org.

The deadline for abstract submission is 15 January 2019.

Dariusz Dziga
Iwona Jasser
Mikołaj Kokociński
Joanna Mankiewicz-Boczek
Hanna Mazur-Marzec
Barbara Pawlik-Skowrońska

Local Organizing Committee