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Benthic cyanobacteria project

Project Number # 1059

Bad tastes, odours and toxins in our drinking water reservoirs: are benthic cyanobacteria the culprits?

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Background and Relevance

This project, led by A/Prof Justin Brookes,  provided solutions for the water industry to address the problem of taste and odour (T&O) and toxin producing benthic cyanobacteria, by developing new  techniques for their sampling, monitoring, and specific management. The end goal was to determine whether benthic species were responsible for unexplained Taste and Odour (T&O) issues in candidate reservoirs and to update knowledge on T&O and toxin production by benthic cyanobacteria in Australia. This required (1) the design and trial of benthic samplers, (2) the establishment and validation of molecular tools for the monitoring of benthic cyanobacteria and associated secondary metabolites (T&O and toxins), (3) the conduct of a detailed year-long field survey in three reservoirs (two in South Australia and one in New South Wales), (4) the isolation of benthic strains from candidate reservoirs to formally identify potential T&O and toxin producers.