Problems associated with the presence of cyanobacteria in recreational and drinking waters

S Pitois, MH Jackson, BJB Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Eutrophication of waters can lead to the development of blooms of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) and consequent health and environmental problems. The presence of these organisms in recreational and drinking waters is generally undesirable or even hazardous, although nitrogen fixing blue-green algae can be beneficially used as biofertilisers for plantation crops. This paper reviews the characteristics of cyanobacteria and particularly their toxins. The mechanisms of toxic algal blooms are discussed, as are the factors influencing toxin production. The nuisance and health hazards associated with freshwater bluegreen algae are discussed and the options for public health control are evaluated. The problems associated with statutory control of toxic algae problems is also considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-218
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Health Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Alkaloids
  • Gas Vacuoles
  • Hepatotoxins
  • Microcystin
  • Neurotoxins
  • Nitrogen Fixation
  • Toxic Blooms

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