Effect of Oxidant Demand on the Release and Degradation of Microcystin-LR from Microcystis Aeruginosa during Oxidation


In this research, the release and degradation of intracellular microcystin-LR (MC-LR) due to oxidation of Microcystis aeruginosa (M. aeruginosa) was examined kinetically. Brief exposure to free chlorine with no measureable oxidant exposure was demonstrated to be sufficient to induce rapid release of intracellular MC-LR from M. aeruginosa. Thus, in a water treatment plant, there is currently no level of prechlorination that can be assumed to be safe, since very low preoxidation prior to filtration and no measureable free chlorine residual may still observe the release and buildup of extracellular MC-LR. Higher chlorine dosages resulting in a measureable exposure or CT (concentration times contact time) cause more rapid release and oxidation of the intracellular toxins. Further, the rate of release of MC-LR with intermediate oxidant dosages were shown to be initially rapid, but then slowed to a lower release rate due to an as yet undetermined mechanism. While free chlorine was reactive with the extracellular MC-LR, the monochloramine resulting from the consumption of the free chlorine by ammonia was not. Consideration of the ammonia concentration and the chlorine dosage relative to the chlorination breakpoint dosages is important for utilities assessing the impact of prechlorination of water containing cyanobacteria. MC-LR, once released, was rapidly oxidized by permanganate resulting in only negligible buildup of extracellular toxins.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Second Department



The authors acknowledge the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (Grant number 0045667) for funding this study.

Keywords and Phrases

Cell lysis; Chlorination; Microcystin-LR; Microcystis aeruginosa; Permanganate; Toxin release rate

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Document Type

Article - Journal

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© 2017 Elsevier Ltd, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Aug 2017

PubMed ID