• Project No 1141
  • Project Name Guidance for integration of gene testing in cyanobacterial management
  • Lead Organisation Melbourne Water
  • Research Lead Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
  • Main Researcher Aaron Jex
  • Completion Year 2024

Project Description

Cyanobacterial blooms are a global water quality concern that affects drinking water, recreational areas, and irrigation systems. These blooms not only cause ecological disruption and unpleasant water aesthetics but also produce harmful toxins that pose serious health risks to humans and animals.

This research provides a comprehensive review and practical guidance on integrating molecular testing methods into cyanobacterial bloom management, and highlights the potential of molecular methods, particularly quantitative PCR (qPCR) methods, which can detect and quantify cyanotoxin biosynthesis genes more efficiently and accurately. This approach offers several advantages, including cost-effectiveness, rapid turnaround times, and enhanced ability to forecast bloom toxicity.

For the water industry, this research is highly relevant as it proposes a scientifically robust and economically viable approach to support managing cyanobacterial blooms. By integrating gene testing into routine water quality assessments, water management groups can improve the accuracy and timeliness of forecasting bloom toxicity, leading to better-informed decisions and more effective protection of public health and ecosystems.