The occurrence of the cyanobacterial toxins anatoxin-a (ATX) and cylindrospermopsin (CYN) in surface waters has been reported throughout the world. Beside degradation, sorption is an important pathway for toxin elimination if these resources are used for drinking water production via sediment passage. However, to date studies that systematically investigated sorption of these toxins onto sediments are lacking. Therefore, the aim of our work was (i) to determine the adsorption coefficients of ATX and CYN according to the Freundlich and Langmuir model for sediments of various textures and (ii) to derive sorptionrelevant sediment characteristics. We determined sorption parameters in air-dried samples of eight differently textured sediments using batch experiments. Results for both toxins showed best fits with the Langmuir model. Organic C proved to be the main sediment parameter determining CYN sorption. There was no or little CYN sorption on sandy and silty sediments (0e39 mg kg-1), respectively, presumably due to charge repulsion from the negatively charged surfaces. Sorption of ATX (max. sorbent loading ranging from 47 to 656 mg kg-1) was much stronger than that of CYN (max. sorbent loading ranging from 0 to 361 mg kg-1) and predominantly controlled by clay and to a minor degree also by organic C and silt. While ATX sorption to most sediments occurred mainly through cation exchange this mechanism played only a minor role in CYN sorption to organic C. Hence, high mobility for CYN and moderate mobility for ATX during sediment passage has to be expected.


Recent results show that cylindrospermopsin is more frequent and widespread in surface waters than previously assumed. Studies on the fate of CYN in sediments are lacking, but this is important if these resources are used for drinking-water production via sediment passage. Therefore, the aim of our study was to determine a) CYN retention in two sandy sediments as a function of flow rate, CYN concentration, the presence of DOM and the content of fines (1% and 4%, respectively) and b) the influence of sediment preconditioning and DOM composition of the water (aquatic DOM versus DOM released from lysed cells) on CYN degradation. Retention of CYN proved negligible under the investigated conditions. Degradation in virgin sediments showed the highest lag phases (20 days). Preconditioned sediments showed no lag phase. The presence of aquatic DOM yielded highest degradation rates (k1 ¼0.46 and 0.49 day 1) without a lag phase. Readily available organic carbon sources were preferentially metabolized and hence induced a lag phase. Thus, the presence and composition of DOM in the water proved important for both CYN degradation rates in preconditioned sediments and for the lag phase. Cylindrospermopsin degradation took place solely in the sediment and not in the water body.


Microcystins (MCYSTs) are a group of structurally similar toxic peptides produced by cyanobacteria (“blue-green algae”) which occur frequently in surface waters worldwide. Reliable elimination is necessary when using these waters as drinking watersources.Bankfiltrationandartificial groundwaterrecharge utilize adsorption and degradation processes in the subsurface, commonlythroughsandandgravel aquifers, for the elimination of a wide range of substances during drinking water (pre-) treatment. To obtain parameters for estimating whether MCYST breakthrough is likely in field settings, we tested MCYST elimination in laboratory experiments (batch experiments, column experiments) under a range of conditions. Adsorption coefficients (kd-values) obtained from batch studies ranged from 0.2 mL/g for filter sand to 11.6 mL/g for fine grained aquifer materials with 2% fine grains (<63 µm) and 0.8% organic matter. First order degradation rates in column studies reached 1.87 d-1 under aerobic conditions and showed high variations under anoxic conditions (<0.01-1.35 d-1). These results show that, next to sediment texture, redox conditions play an important role for MCYST elimination during sediment passage. Biodegradation was identified as the dominating process for MCYST elimination in sandy aquifer material.

Dizer, H. , Grützmacher, G. , Klitzke, S. , Lopez-Pila, J. M. , Szewzyk, R. G. (2010): Facility for the Simulation of Riverbank Filtration and Slow Sand Filtration - Examples of Virus Elimination in the Subsurface under near-natural Conditions.

p 36 In: EPA Symposium on Groundwater-borne Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Etiologic Agents and Indicators. Carnegie Institute Of Washington, Washington D.C.. 26-27 January 2010

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