Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins in Water Supply Reservoirs – to Develop and Validate a Microarray to Test for Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxin Genes in Drinking Water Reservoirs as an Aid to Risk Assessment and Management of Water SuppliesEPA Grant Number: R831627
Title: Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins in Water Supply Reservoirs – to Develop and Validate a Microarray to Test for Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxin Genes in Drinking Water Reservoirs as an Aid to Risk Assessment and Management of Water Supplies
Investigators: Rublee, Parke , Burkholder, Joann M. , Glasgow, Howard , Henrich, Vincent C.
Institution: University of North Carolina at Greensboro , North Carolina State University
EPA Project Officer: Klieforth, Barbara I
Project Period: November 1, 2004 through October 31, 2007 (Extended to April 30, 2008)
Project Amount: $594,982
RFA: Microbial Risk in Drinking Water (2003) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Drinking Water , Health Effects , Water
The objective of this study is to develop a microarray to test for cyanobacteria and cyanotoxin genes in drinking water reservoirs as an aid to risk assessment and manages of water supplies. The microarray will include probes recognizing important freshwater cyanobacterial taxa (at group, genus, species and strain levels) that cause human or animal health problems and those that cause odor or taste problems in drinking water. It will also include probes to known cyanobacterial toxin genes.
Probe development will stem from published literature and database sequences as well as sequencing of extant and newly cultured cyanobacterial isolates. Concurrent with probe development and array testing, 12 drinking water supply reservoirs will be sampled biweekly from June trough September over a three-year period. Physical, chemical, and biological characterization of the samples will include assessment of cyanobacterial presence and diversity, chlorophyll a and phycocyanins, and presence of at least two cyanobacterial toxins (microcystins and anatoxins). Water samples will also serve as a source of cyanobacterial isolates which will be tested for their potential to produce toxins and serve as isolates for probe development. Finally, water samples for all years will be tested by the completed microarray as part of the validation testing. Field sampling, toxin analysis and phytoplankton counts will follow procedures established in previous studies at the Center for Applied Aquatic Ecology, NCSU. Microarray development and testing will follow procedures established at UNCG under current EPA funding.
This study will produce a microarray suitable for use as a tool for risk assessment of cyanobacteria and cyanobacterial toxins in drinking water reservoirs and lakes. Although the array will be developed based on reservoir systems from North Carolina, it will be more broadly useful throughout the US. Its utility can be continually improved by the addition of new probes to the array as they become available. Further, the probes in this array could be incorporated into even larger arrays with a broad range of potential uses including environmental assessment, monitoring bioremediation efforts, detection of pollutants, and detection of biological and chemical weapons.