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Hazardous cyanobacteria integrity response to velocity gradient and powdered activated carbon in water treatment plants.

Oliveira, Samylla; Clemente, Allan; Menezes, Indira; Gois, Amanda; Carloto, Ismael; Lawton, Linda; Capelo-Neto, Jose


Samylla Oliveira

Allan Clemente

Amanda Gois

Ismael Carloto

Jose Capelo-Neto


Although some studies have investigated the impact caused by chemicals used on water treatment (coagulants and oxidants) on cyanobacteria integrity, the isolated effect of shear stress during coagulation is still not fully understood. This study evaluated the impact of different velocity gradients, mixing times, and the addition of powdered activated carbon (PAC) on the integrity of Microcystis aeruginosa, Raphidiopsis raciborskii, and Dolichospermum circinale, known producers of toxin and taste and odor (T&O) compounds. No association was found between R. raciborskii cell lysis and velocity gradient, with or without PAC, demonstrating the high resilience of this taxon to shear stress. In contrast, an association was found for M. aeruginosa at the highest velocity gradient evaluated (1000 s-1) and for D. circinale above the lowest velocity gradient studied (600 s-1). After PAC addition, there was a reduction in the chances of finding M. aeruginosa intact cells above velocity gradient 800 s-1 at 45 s, while D. circinale show cell lysis in all the scenarios expect at 600 s-1 and 10 s of agitation. The additional impact of PAC on cell lysis may lead to more release of metabolites and shows the need to adjust the hydraulic conditions in the rapid mixing stage, especially when more “fragile” cyanobacteria are present. Neither cyanobacterial cell size nor morphology was shown to be relevant to shear stress sensitivity, indicating that cell wall composition might have been an important factor in controlling cell lysis.


OLIVEIRA, S., CLEMENTE, A., MENEZES, I., GOIS, A., CARLOTO, I., LAWTON, L. and CAPELO-NETO, J. 2021. Hazardous cyanobacteria integrity response to velocity gradient and powdered activated carbon in water treatment plants. Science of the total environment [online], 773, article ID 145110. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 7, 2021
Online Publication Date Feb 4, 2021
Publication Date Jun 15, 2021
Deposit Date Feb 12, 2021
Publicly Available Date Feb 5, 2022
Journal Science of The Total Environment
Print ISSN 0048-9697
Electronic ISSN 1879-1026
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 773
Article Number 145110
Keywords Microcystis aeruginosa; Raphidiopsis raciborskii; Dolichospermum circinale; Drinking water treatment; Flash mixing; Shear stress; Cell integrity
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