IMDEA Water is expert on cyanobacteria physiology and toxin production in fresh water reservoirs
Cyanobacteria constitute a diverse group of bacteria existing almost everywhere on the globe. They are important players in global nutrient cycles and have wide-ranging biotechnological and medical applications. Nevertheless, some cyanobacteria produce toxins. Blooms (large aggregates accumulated on or near water surfaces) of toxic cyanobacteria, especially those developing in water bodies used for drinking purposes, concern environmentalists and policy makers worldwide due to their environmental, economical, and public health implications.
In Spain, cyanobacteria grow in major Spanish rivers and reservoirs. Blooms develop at least once a year in some of these reservoirs and include species that produce a potent liver toxin – Microcystins.
At IMDEA-Agua, the cyanobacteria and cianotoxins group is developing modern tools to indentify toxic cyanobacteria in the Spanish waters. Such tools, when combined with the appropriate chemical and environmental indicators, will compose a specific and sensitive early warning system for monitoring and assessment of toxic cyanobacterial hazard. Such a system will provide a solid base upon which accurate measures can be taken to ensure effective drinking water treatment and the sustainable management of the water bodies in Spain.
We are experts on cyanobacteria physiology and toxin production in fresh water reservoirs and we are developing cutting-edge tools to monitor toxic cyanobacteria blooms. Currently, we are focused on two technological lines:
- Developing technology for the efficient and low-cost removal of microcystins during water treatment.
- Designing and tailoring monitoring programmes for the control of toxic cyanobacteria blooms in reservoirs.
Moreover, we have facilities for measuring microcystins using LC-QTOF-MS/MS, HPLC-UV and to detect potential microcystins-producing cyanobacteria using qPCR.
• Potabilization and water purification companies; water supply companies
• Water resource managers
• Business related to recreational use of water in reservoirs and lakes
• Animal husbandry
• Hydroelectric companies