Preliminary Assessment of Cyanobacteria Diversity and Toxic Potential in Ten Freshwater Lakes in Selangor, Malaysia

  • Som Cit SinangEmail author
  • Keong Bun Poh
  • Syakirah Shamsudin
  • Ann Sinden


Toxic cyanobacteria blooms are increasing in magnitude and frequency worldwide. However, this issue has not been adequately addressed in Malaysia. Therefore, this study aims to better understand eutrophication levels, cyanobacteria diversity, and microcystin concentrations in ten Malaysian freshwater lakes. The results revealed that most lakes were eutrophic, with total phosphorus and total chlorophyll-a concentrations ranging from 15 to 4270 µg L−1 and 1.1 to 903.1 µg L−1, respectively. Cyanobacteria were detected in all lakes, and identified as Microcystis spp., Planktothrix spp., Phormidium spp., Oscillatoria spp., and Lyngbya spp. Microcystis spp. was the most commonly observed and most abundant cyanobacteria recorded. Semi-quantitative microcystin analysis indicated the presence of microcystin in all lakes. These findings illustrate the potential health risk of cyanobacteria in Malaysia freshwater lakes, thus magnifying the importance of cyanobacteria monitoring and management in Malaysian waterways.


Cyanobacteria Microcystin Freshwater lakes Eutrophication 



This research was funded by Sultan Idris Education University and Malaysia Ministry of Education under University Research Grant (2012-116-108-01) and Research Acculturation Grant Scheme (2013-0002-101-72). We would like to thank everyone who was directly or indirectly involved in this research. We also would like to thank Shari Gallop for her help in the editing of the manuscript.


  1. Ahmed A, Wanganeo A (2015) Phytoplankton succession in a tropical freshwater lake, Bhoj Wetland (Bhopal, India): spatial and temporal perspective. Environ Monit Assess 187:1–12. doi: 10.1007/s10661-015-4410-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ait Hammou H, Latour D, Sabart M, Samoudi S, Mouhri K, Robin J, Loudiki M (2014) Temporal evolution and vertical stratification of Microcystis toxic potential during a first bloom event. Aquat Ecol 48:219–228. doi: 10.1007/s10452-014-9477-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carlson RE (1977) A trophic state index for lakes. Limnol Oceanogr 22:361–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carlson RE, Simpson J (1996) A coordinator’s guide to volunteer lake monitoring methods. North American Lake Management Society, MadisonGoogle Scholar
  5. Chorus I, Bartram J (1999) Toxic cyanobacteria in water: a guide to their public health consequences, monitoring and management. E & FN Spon, London and New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chorus I, Falconer IR, Salas HJ, Bartram J (2000) Health risks caused by freshwater cyanobacteria in recreational waters. J Toxicol Environ Health B 3:323–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clesceri LS, Eaton AD, Greenberg AE, Association APH, Association AWW, Federation WE (1998) standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. American Public Health Association, The University of CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  8. de Figueiredo DR, Azeiteiro UM, Esteves SM, Goncalves FJM, Pereira MJ (2004) Microcystin-producing blooms—a serious global public health issue. Ecotoxicol Environ Safe 59:151–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Eisakhani M, Pauzi A, Karim O, Malakahmad A, Kutty SRM, Isa MH (2009) GIS-based non-point sources of pollution simulation in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Int J Environ Earth Sci Eng 3(3):1–5Google Scholar
  10. Havens KE (2007) Cyanobacteria blooms: effects on aquatic ecosystems. In: Hudnell HK (ed) Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms: state of the science and research needs, vol 619. Springer, New York, pp 733–747CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hillebrand H, Durselen C, Kirschtel D, Pollingher U, Zohary T (1999) Biovolume calculation for pelagic and benthic microalgae. J Phycol 35:403–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. IPCC (2008) Climate change and water-IPCC technical paper VIGoogle Scholar
  13. Jacquet S, Domaizon I, Anneville O (2014) The need for ecological monitoring of freshwaters in a changing world: a case study of Lakes Annecy, Bourget, and Geneva. Environ Monit Assess 186:3455–3476. doi: 10.1007/s10661-014-3630-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jeppesen E et al (2015) Ecological impacts of global warming and water abstraction on lakes and reservoirs due to changes in water level and related changes in salinity. Hydrobiologia 750:201–227. doi: 10.1007/s10750-014-2169-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. NAHRIM (2009) A desk study on the status of eutrophication of lakes in Malaysia. National Hydraulic Research Institute MalaysiaGoogle Scholar
  16. Newcombe G, Chorus I, Falconer I, Fuh Lin T (2011) Cyanobacteria: impacts of climate change on occurrence, toxicity and water quality management. Water Res 46:1347–1348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Paerl HW, Hall NS, Calandrino ES (2011) Controlling harmful cyanobacterial blooms in a world experiencing anthropogenic and climatic-induced change. Sci Total Environ 409:1739–1745CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Rastogi R, Sinha R, Incharoensakdi A (2014) The cyanotoxin-microcystins: current overview. Rev Environ Sci Biotechnol 13:215–249. doi: 10.1007/s11157-014-9334-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Romo S, Fernandez F, Ouahid Y, Baron-Sola A (2012) Assessment of microcystins in lake water and fish (Mugilidae, Liza sp.) in the largest Spanish coastal lake. Environ Monit Assess 184:939–949CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Sinang SC, Reichwaldt ES, Ghadouani A (2013) Spatial and temporal variability in the relationship between cyanobacterial biomass and the occurrence of microcystin. Environ Monit Assess 185(8):6379–6395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sukenik A, Quesada A, Salmaso N (2015) Global expansion of toxic and non-toxic cyanobacteria: effect on ecosystem functioning. Biodivers Conserv. doi: 10.1007/s10531-015-0905-9 Google Scholar
  22. Utermöhl H (1958) Zur vervollkommnung der quantitativen phytoplankton-methodik. Mitt int Ver theor angew Limnol 9:1–38Google Scholar
  23. Waajen GAM, Faassen E, Lürling M (2014) Eutrophic urban ponds suffer from cyanobacterial blooms: Dutch examples. Environ Sci Pollut Res. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-2948-y Google Scholar
  24. WHO (1998) Cyanobacterial toxins: microcystin-LR, 2nd edn. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  25. WHO (2003) Algae and cyanobacteria in freshwater: guidelines for safe recreational water environments. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Som Cit Sinang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Keong Bun Poh
    • 1
  • Syakirah Shamsudin
    • 1
  • Ann Sinden
    • 1
  1. 1.Biology Department, Faculty of Science and MathematicsSultan Idris Education UniversityTanjung MalimMalaysia

Personalised recommendations