Evaluating genotoxicity associated with microcystin-LR and its risk to source water safety in Meiliang Bay, Taihu Lake

Jian-Yong Wu, Qiu-Jin Xu, Guang Gao, Jian-Hua Shen
Environmental Toxicology 2006, 21 (3): 250-5
In recent years cyanobacteria blooms have become a severe problem in Taihu Lake, a large shallow eutrophic lake in China. Microcystins produced by certain genera of cyanobacteria can affect public health in this area because of their acute and chronic toxic effects. In this study, samples of cyanobacteria were collected and extracted by two solvent systems. The extracts were tested with three short-term genotoxicity assays, the ara test, the Ames test, and the SOS/umu test. In addition, temporal variation in the concentrations of microcystin-LR in the water samples was determined and monitored by an ELISA assay. Then the concentration of microcystin-LR in the drinking water was estimated. The risk of microcystin-LR exposure by drinking water was assessed according to tolerable daily intake (TDI). The three genotoxicity assays showed negative results regardless of the solvent system used, and there were clear inconsistencies in the spatiotemporal profiles of genotoxic potential and microcystin concentrations in Taihu Lake. Risk assessment showed that the drinking water from Taihu Lake was not safe from the end of July to the beginning of November because of a high concentration of microcystin-LR. Our study indicated the drinking water from Taihu Lake posed a risk because of the microcystin-LR, although it was neither genotoxic nor associated with genotoxicity of the lake water.

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