Publications: Peer-reviewed journal articles (by staff)

Development of solid phase adsorption toxin tracking (SPATT) for monitoring anatoxin-a and homoanatoxin-a in river water

1 January, 2011
CITATION

Wood SA, Holland PT et al 2011. Development of solid phase adsorption toxin tracking (SPATT) for monitoring anatoxin-a and homoanatoxin-a in river water. Chemosphere 82(6): 888-894.

ABSTRACT

Sampling and monitoring for cyanotoxins can be problematic as concentrations change with environmental and hydrological conditions. Current sampling practices (e.g. grab samples) provide data on cyanotoxins present only at one point in time and may miss areas or times of highest risk. Recent research has identified the widespread distribution of anatoxin-producing benthic cyanobacteria in rivers highlighting the need for development of effective sampling techniques. In this study we evaluated the potential of an in situ method known as solid phase adsorption toxin tracking (SPAT) for collecting and concentrating anatoxin-a (ATX) and homoanatoxin-a (HTX) in river water. Fifteen different adsorption substrates were screened for efficiency of ATX uptake, nine of which retained high proportions (>70%) of ATX. Four substrates were then selected for a 24-h trial in a SPATT bag format in the laboratory. The greatest decrease in ATX in the water was observed with powdered activated carbon (PAC) and Strata-X (a polymeric resin) SPATT bags. A 3-d field study in a river containing toxic benthic cyanobacterial mats was undertaken using PAC and Strata-X SPATT bags. ATX and HTX were detected in all SPATT bags. Surface grab samples were taken throughout the field study and ATX and HTX were only detected in one of the water samples, highlighting the limitations of this currently used method. Both Strata-X and PAC were found to be effective absorbent substrates. PAC has the advantage that it is cheap and readily available and appears to continue to sorb toxins over longer periods than Strata-X. SPATT has the potential to be integrated into current cyanobacterial monitoring programmes and would be a very useful and economical tool for early warning of ATX and HTX contamination in water.

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