sin_lipno global database of methods for cyanobacterial blooms management


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is CyanoData
CyanoData is an international database to create a global source of information and contacts for cyanobacteria, their toxins and materials and methods to reduce the risks and effects which they present to health and water resources.

2. What is the CyanoData database
The CyanoData database is a data resource that allows experts and the public to store, search and retrieve published methods for cyanobacterial bloom management.

3. What are the main aims of CyanoData?
The Aims include:
- availability and application of risk management actions to reduce the adverse impacts of cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins
- local and traditional knowledge of cyanobacterial bloom occurrences, precautions and responses
- established modern risk management structures, e.g. task groups, for cyanobacterial bloom mitigation and cyanotoxin control

4. What are cyanobacteria?
Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) are a common and naturally-occurring component of many ecosystems, including fresh-, brackish and marine waters. In temperate and high latitudes, cyanobacterial populations show marked seasonal periodicities, with population maxima in the Summer-Autumn seasons and minima in the Winter/Spring. In subtropical to tropical latitudes, the growth season is greatly extended and may even be year-round. Their populations often increase due to excessive enrichment of such waters with nutrients (principally phosphorus and nitrogen). They can cause problems in the drinking water supply industry, such as water discolouration, taste, odour and blockage of filters. The extensive growths may lead to the formation of blooms, scums, biofilms or mats. These can be toxic to humans and to terrestrial and aquatic animals due to the production of toxins.

5. What are cyanotoxins?
Cyanobacteria produce a vast range of small molecules, of which several are toxic to humans, other mammals, birds, fish, amphibia, simple animals and to plants. The known cyanobacterial toxins include members causing liver and kidney damage, neurological damage, gastrointestinal illness, and skin and mucosal membrane irritation and damage. At the cellular level, cyanotoxins can interfere with fundamental and essential processes including cell structure, function, metabolism, growth and cell division. At the molecular level, some cyanotoxins can cause damage to genes and the regulation of normal cell development. With differences in molecular structure, over 100 variants of cyanotoxins are now described.

6. Why are cyanotoxins a potential problem to water-users and consumers?
Cyanotoxins are now well-established as presenting hazards to health. They can present problems for water-users and consumers because:
(a) they can be formed in high resource waterbodies which are used for drinking water preparation, recreation, aquaculture and irrigation
(b) they present risks to health at environmentally-occurring concentrations in waterbodies used for recreation, including bathing, and in water intended for drinking and specialist purposes (e.g. haemodialysis), unless adequately treated before use
(c) they can be retained within the cells which produced them, but also be released in soluble form into the surrounding water; (by persisting after cyanobacterial cell breakdown or removal, they can therefore be present in the absence of cyanobacterial cells)
(d) they can be taken up at sublethal concentrations by aquatic animals and fish and be transferred along food chains

7. Can I take part in the CyanoData programme?
We would appreciate whatever help you may be able to give to this enterprise, particularly for data and information from your particular state or region. You may be able to provide scientific information on cyanobacterial blooms and cyanotoxins in your region, on associated health incidents, and/or on management actions or needs. Local knowledge, experience and practices will be welcomed.

8. How do I find the person who is responsible for data collection from my Region?
First, you should contact the relevant Member by email. See Contact Points - on CyanoData website.

© Centre for Cyanobacteria and Their Toxins