Toxicon : official journal of the International Society on Toxinology

State of the art on cyanotoxins in water and their behaviour towards chlorine.

PMID 19874838


The occurrence of cyanobacterial blooms is drastically increasing in temperate countries and drinking water resources are threatened. As a result, cyanotoxins should be considered in water treatment to protect human health. This study presents a state of the art on cyanotoxins in water and their behaviour towards chlorination, a common drinking water disinfection process. Chlorination efficiency on cyanotoxins alteration depends on pH, chlorine dose and oxidant nature. Microcystins and cylindrospermopsin are efficiently transformed by chlorine, with respectively 6 and 2 by-products identified. In addition, chlorination of microcystins and cylindrospermopsin is associated with a loss of acute toxicity. Even though they have been less investigated, saxitoxins and nodularins are also altered by chlorine. For these toxins, no by-products have been identified, but the chlorinated mixture does not show acute toxicity. On the contrary, the fact that anatoxin-a has a very slow reaction kinetics suggests that this toxin resists chlorination.