Australian Centre for Water
and Environmental Biotechnology

AWMC Seminar Program: Rita Lemos

Bioelectrochemical detection of cyanobacteria as a monitoring tool for harmful bloom management

Abstract: Cyanobacteria are amongst the oldest microorganisms on earth, possessing valuable competitive advantage over other aquatic phytoplanktonic species. Eutrophication and increasing temperatures have been favouring the periodic proliferation of harmful cyanobacterial blooms both in planktonic and benthic environments, resulting in increased turbidity and limitations to light penetration in the water column that have catastrophic effects for aquatic ecosystems. Furthermore, the production of toxins that occur naturally as secondary metabolites are a major concern for public health. In order for effective policies and management strategies to be set in motion, it is imperative to effectively monitor cyanobacterial populations in situ. In this work, a novel detection and monitoring method based on photocurrent measurement is proposed. In fact, various cyanobacteria species have demonstrated the ability to undertake extracellular electron transfer (EET) to insoluble acceptors – e.g. to reduce oxidative stress caused by excessive light exposure – and are thus able to produce a measurable electrical current. The establishment of a correlation between current generation and cyanobacterial biomass density, and even the potential profiling of an electroactive population of microorganisms based on divergent responses of species to specific electrode potentials and materials constitutes an exceptional opportunity for developing a powerful tool for the detection/monitoring of cyanobacteria in e.g. water reservoirs.

Host: Advanced Water Management Centre
Event Details
Date & Time: 
Friday, 29 April 2016
9am - 10am
Venue: Building 76, Room 228

Event Contact: