Microcystis and its Toxins in Lake Erie Sediments
Publications: Success Stories (Research)

A sampling of results and impacts from completed New York Sea Grant-funded research projects, written during the period February 1, 2009 – January 31, 2010

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Historical Distribution of Microcystis and its Toxins in Lake Erie Sediments
R/CTP-36, Boyer

Microcystis
is a nuisance cyanobacteria when it forms large blooms and produces the toxin microcystin which often has mild and sometimes serious health effects to people.

In this study, a research team from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) examined the historical distribution of microsystis in Lake Erie by collecting sediment cores from its western, central and eastern basins.

Analysis of these cores suggests that the molecular potential for toxin production is preserved in these sediments and that benthic species may be important contributors to the toxin production in Lake Erie.

The project developed a physicochemical screening method, the MMPB (2-methyl-3-methoxy-4-phenylbutyric acid) method for looking at bound microcystins in fish tissues. The method is of interest to groups in California and Oregon for application to their fish samples.

Also this project, along with its sister project "Spatial and Temporal Distribution of Cyanobacteria Toxins in Lake Erie" allowed the team to conduct the first and only detailed spatial and temporal survey for cyanobacterial toxins in Lake Erie to date.

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