Detoxification of microcystins (cyanobacterial hepatotoxins) using TiO2 photocatalytic oxidation

Linda A. Lawton*, Peter K J Robertson, Benjamin J P A Cornish, Marcel Jaspars

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Citations (Scopus)


TiO2 photocatalysis has been used to destroy microcystin-LR in aqueous solution. The destruction of this toxin was monitored by HPLC, and the disappearance was accompanied by the appearance of seven UV detectable compounds. Spectral analysis revealed that some of these compounds retained spectra similar to the parent compound suggesting that the Adda moiety, thought to be responsible for the characteristic spectrum, remained intact whereas the spectra of some of the other products was more radically altered. Six of the seven observed reaction products did not appear to undergo further degradation during prolonged photocatalysis (100 min). The degree to which microcystin-LR was mineralized by photocatalytic oxidation was determined. Results indicated that less than 10% mineralization occurred. Mass spectral analysis of the photocatalyzed microcystin-LR allowed tentative characterization of the reaction process and products. Reduction in toxicity due to the photocatalytic oxidation was evaluated using an invertebrate bioassay, which demonstrated that the disappearance of microcystin-LR was paralleled by a reduction in toxicity. These findings suggest that photocatalytic destruction of microcystins may be a suitable method for the removal of these potentially hazardous compounds from drinking water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771-775
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number5
Early online date26 Jan 1999
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Engineering

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