DNA-based methods used to identify toxin-producing cyanobacteria in Northern California rivers

Posted May 9, 2020

SCCWRP has completed a six-month pilot study with the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board examining how to use DNA-based methods to identify the types of bacteria responsible for producing ecologically disruptive cyanotoxins in Northern California rivers.

The study, completed in March, found that using DNA barcoding to identify cyanobacteria enabled researchers to identify about twice as many distinct types of toxin-producing cyanobacteria compared to traditional taxonomic identification under a microscope.

The study’s findings underscore the potential of DNA-based identification methods to complement microscope-based identifications for routine cyanobacterial monitoring.

The study is expected to be published by California’s Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program as a technical report in the coming months.

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