Oxidation processes can provide an effective barrier to eliminate cyanotoxins by damaging cyanobacteria cell membranes, releasing intracellular cyanotoxins, and subsequently oxidizing these toxins (now in extracellular form) based on published reaction kinetics. In this work, cyanobacteria cells from two natural blooms (from the United States and Canada) and a laboratory-cultured Microcystis aeruginosa
strain were treated with chlorine, monochloramine, chlorine dioxide, ozone, and potassium permanganate. The release of microcystin was measured immediately after oxidation (t ≤ 20 min), and following oxidant residual quenching (stagnation times = 96 or 168 h). Oxidant exposures (CT) were determined resulting in complete release of intracellular microcystin following chlorine (21 mg-min/L), chloramine (72 mg-min/L), chlorine dioxide (58 mg-min/L), ozone (4.1 mg-min/L), and permanganate (391 mg-min/L). Required oxidant exposures using indigenous cells were greater than lab-cultured Microcystis
. Following partial oxidation of cells (oxidant exposures ≤ CT values cited above), additional intracellular microcystin and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) were released while the samples remained stagnant in the absence of an oxidant (>96 h after quenching). The delayed release of microcystin from partially oxidized cells has implications for drinking water treatment as these cells may be retained on a filter surface or in solids and continue to slowly release cyanotoxins and other metabolites into the finished water.
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