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Open AccessArticle

Algal Blooms and Cyanotoxins in Jordan Lake, North Carolina

Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Water Resources, Raleigh, NC 27699, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2018, 10(2), 92;
Received: 31 December 2017 / Revised: 17 February 2018 / Accepted: 19 February 2018 / Published: 24 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Harmful Algal Bloom Dynamics)
PDF [2976 KB, uploaded 24 February 2018]


The eutrophication of waterways has led to a rise in cyanobacterial, harmful algal blooms (CyanoHABs) worldwide. The deterioration of water quality due to excess algal biomass in lakes has been well documented (e.g., water clarity, hypoxic conditions), but health risks associated with cyanotoxins remain largely unexplored in the absence of toxin information. This study is the first to document the presence of dissolved microcystin, anatoxin-a, cylindrospermopsin, and β-N-methylamino-l-alanine in Jordan Lake, a major drinking water reservoir in North Carolina. Saxitoxin presence was not confirmed. Multiple toxins were detected at 86% of the tested sites and during 44% of the sampling events between 2014 and 2016. Although concentrations were low, continued exposure of organisms to multiple toxins raises some concerns. A combination of discrete sampling and in-situ tracking (Solid Phase Adsorption Toxin Tracking [SPATT]) revealed that microcystin and anatoxin were the most pervasive year-round. Between 2011 and 2016, summer and fall blooms were dominated by the same cyanobacterial genera, all of which are suggested producers of single or multiple cyanotoxins. The study’s findings provide further evidence of the ubiquitous nature of cyanotoxins, and the challenges involved in linking CyanoHAB dynamics to specific environmental forcing factors are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: freshwater blooms; cyanobacteria; cyanotoxins; microcystin; anatoxin-a; BMAA; North Carolina; SPATT; water quality freshwater blooms; cyanobacteria; cyanotoxins; microcystin; anatoxin-a; BMAA; North Carolina; SPATT; water quality

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Wiltsie, D.; Schnetzer, A.; Green, J.; Vander Borgh, M.; Fensin, E. Algal Blooms and Cyanotoxins in Jordan Lake, North Carolina. Toxins 2018, 10, 92.

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