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Total cylindrospermopsins, microcystins/nodularins, and saxitoxins data for the 2007 United States Environmental Protection Agency National Lake Assessment

May 26, 2016

Phytoplankton communities in freshwater lakes, ponds, and reservoirs may be dominated by cyanobacteria (also called blue-green algae) under certain environmental conditions. Cyanobacteria may cause a range of water-quality impairments, including the potential for toxin production. Cyanobacteria toxins (cyanotoxins) may adversely impact human and ecological health. Microcystins are considered to be one of the most commonly found classes of cyanotoxins in freshwater ecosystems, and as such were selected as a recreational indicator of water quality for the 2007 United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Lakes Assessment. However, much less is known about the occurrence of other classes of cyanotoxins in fresh surface water such as anatoxins, cylindrospermopsins, nodularins, and saxitoxins.

The 2007 National Lakes Assessment followed a probabilistic study design and was directed by the EPA, in partnership with States, Tribes, and other federal agencies of the United States, to provide an assessment of water quality in the Nation’s lakes, ponds, and reservoirs based on trophic status, and ecological and recreational indicators. Integrated photic zone samples were collected by the EPA, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), States, and Tribes in target water bodies, generally at their deepest point, and analyzed for microcystins by the U.S. Geological Survey. The USGS assisted with this survey by providing technical expertise and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) analysis of microcystins for all survey samples as an indicator for recreational water quality. A small subset of samples (n=27) was analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) by the USGS. Additionally, through partnership with the EPA National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (NHEERL), USGS analyzed all frozen samples by ELISA for two other classes of cyanotoxins, cylindrospermopsins and saxitoxins. Total cylindrospermopsins, microcystins, and saxitoxins were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in a total of 1,331 samples from 1,161 lakes.

Samples from this study had detection frequencies of 4.0, 32 (unweighted), and 7.6 percent, mean concentrations (detections only) of 0.56, 3.0, and 0.061 micrograms/L (μg/L), and maximum concentrations of 4.4, 230, and 0.38 μg/L for cylindrospermopsins, microcystins, and saxitoxins by ELISA, respectively in visit 1 and visit 2 samples. Microcystin ELISA results were categorized based on World Health Organization recreational surface-water guidelines for the relative probability of adverse health impacts because of microcystin exposure. The dataset described in this report is the first ever national reconnaissance of cyanotoxins in the United States.

At least one microcystin congener was detected by LC/MS/MS in 52 percent of the 27 samples analyzed at a concentration greater than the LC/MS/MS minimum reporting level (MRL) of 0.010 μg/L and included detections for microcystin-LA, microcystin-LR, microcystin-LY, microcystin-RR, and microcystin-YR. Anatoxin-a, cylindrospermopsin, and nodularin-R were detected in 15 percent, 7 percent, and 4 percent of samples, respectively, at concentrations above 0.010 μg/L. Deoxycylindrospermopsin, domoic acid, lyngbyatoxin-a, microcystin-LF, microcystin-LW, and okadaic acid were not detected in the LC/MS/MS subset.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2016
Title Total cylindrospermopsins, microcystins/nodularins, and saxitoxins data for the 2007 United States Environmental Protection Agency National Lake Assessment
DOI 10.3133/ds929
Authors Keith A. Loftin, Julie E. Dietze, Michael T. Meyer, Jennifer L. Graham, Megan M. Maksimowicz, Kathryn D. Toyne
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Data Series
Series Number 929
Index ID ds929
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Kansas Water Science Center