Cyanobacteria and their toxic secondary metabolites are a challenge in water treatment due to increased biomass and dissolved metabolites in the raw water. Retrofitting existing water treatment infrastructure is prohibitively expensive or unfeasible, hence 'in-reservoir' treatment options are being explored. In the current study, a treatment system was able to photocatalytically inhibit the growth of Microcystis aeruginosa and remove released microcystins by photocatalysis using titanium dioxide coated, porous foamed glass beads and UV-LEDs (365 nm). A 35% reduction of M. aeruginosa PCC7813 cell density compared to control samples was achieved in seven days. As a function of cell removal, intracellular microcystins (microcystin-LR, -LY, -LW and -LF) were removed by 49% from 0.69 to 0.35 μg mL−1 in seven days. Microcystins that leaked into the surrounding water from compromised cells were completely removed by photocatalysis. The findings of the current study demonstrate the feasibility of an in-reservoir treatment unit applying low cost UV-LEDs and porous foamed beads made from recycled glass coated with titanium dioxide as a means to control cyanobacteria and their toxins before they can reach the water treatment plant.
PESTANA, C.J., PORTELA NORONHA, J., HUI, J., EDWARDS, C., GUNARATNE, H.Q.N., IRVINE, J.T.S., ROBERTSON, P.K.J., CAPELO-NETO, J. and LAWTON, L.A. 2020. Photocatalytic removal of the cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa PCC7813 and four microcystins by TiO2 coated porous glass beads with UV-LED irradiation. Science of the total environment [online], 745, article number 141154. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141154