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Open AccessArticle

Characterization of Aerosols Containing Microcystin

Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, 2425 Ridgecrest, SE, Albuquerque, NM, 87111, USA
Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236, USA
National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA, 30341,USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Mar. Drugs 2007, 5(4), 136-150;
Received: 22 September 2007 / Accepted: 10 October 2007 / Published: 12 October 2007
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Toxins)
PDF [110 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]


Toxic blooms of cyanobacteria are ubiquitous in both freshwater and brackishwater sources throughout the world. One class of cyanobacterial toxins, calledmicrocystins, is cyclic peptides. In addition to ingestion and dermal, inhalation is a likelyroute of human exposure. A significant increase in reporting of minor symptoms,particularly respiratory symptoms was associated with exposure to higher levels ofcyanobacteria during recreational activities. Algae cells, bacteria, and waterborne toxinscan be aerosolized by a bubble-bursting process with a wind-driven white-capped wavemechanism. The purposes of this study were to: evaluate sampling and analysis techniquesfor microcystin aerosol, produce aerosol droplets containing microcystin in the laboratory,and deploy the sampling instruments in field studies. A high-volume impactor and an IOMfilter sampler were tried first in the laboratory to collect droplets containing microcystins.Samples were extracted and analyzed for microcystin using an ELISA method. Thelaboratory study showed that cyanotoxins in water could be transferred to air via a bubble-bursting process. The droplets containing microcystins showed a bimodal size distributionwith the mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD) of 1.4 and 27.8 μm. The samplingand analysis methods were successfully used in a pilot field study to measure microcystinaerosol in situ. View Full-Text
Keywords: Blue-green algae; microcystin; aerosol; inhalation; exposure assessment; cyanobacteria Blue-green algae; microcystin; aerosol; inhalation; exposure assessment; cyanobacteria

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Cheng, Y.S.; Yue, Z.; Irvin, C.M.; Kirkpatrick, B.; Backer, L.C. Characterization of Aerosols Containing Microcystin. Mar. Drugs 2007, 5, 136-150.

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