Cyanobacteria or blue-green algae, which are typically dominant in eutrophic waters (nutrient-rich), can produce toxins. Cyanotoxins are produced by cyanobacteria, and include a wide variety of biotoxins that affect multiple organs and tissues in wildlife. Cyanotoxins have become more common in modified landscapes across the United States with highly variable toxin production between and even within cyanobacterial species, across different locations and timeframes, resulting in unpredictable impacts to wildlife associated with cyanobacterial blooms. Presence of microcystin and other cyanotoxins (commonly produced by Microcystis spp. and Cylindrospermopsis spp.) in reservoirs, lakes and rivers represent a potential significant risk to wildlife and public health. Reported health problems attributed to drinking water contaminated with cyanotoxins have increased in recent years.


BSA Environmental Services provides multiple methods for identification and enumeration of potentially toxigenic (PTOX) cyanobacteria species and provides detection and quantification of toxins in biological systems using multiple methods, allowing our clients to utilize the most appropriate test based on their budget and for the specific location or project of interest. New detection methodologies have been developed in recent years, including the use of liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) which is a powerful and highly specific technique used in confirmatory analysis to accurately identify and quantify specific variants of microcystin and nodularin. We provide exceptional cyanobacterial toxin analysis services utilizing LC-MS/MS with results that can be relied upon to help our government and commercial clients effectively monitor drinking and recreational water quality and make timely management decisions.


BSA provides LC-MS/MS testing by USEPA approved Standard Methods 544, 545, and 546 for the detection of microcystins and nodularins, anatoxin-a, cylindrospermopsin, saxitoxins (paralytic shellfish toxins), as well as lyngbyatoxin-a, apylsiatoxin/debromoaplysiatoxin. Currently, the microcystin suite confirmatory analysis includes 14 variants of microcystin. Anatoxin-a and homoanatoxin-a as well as cylindrospermopsin are analyzed using Method 545 by LC-MS/MS. Saxitoxin is analyzed using LC/MS/MS for 6 toxin variants. Limits of detection for all toxins is <1 ppb or 1 microgram/L. Instrumentation includes an Agilent HP1200 HPLC equipped with a 6410 MS/MS.


  •  Anabaenopeptins 

  •  Anatoxin-a

  •  ASP

  •  BMAA

  •  Brevetoxins

  •  Cylindrospermopsin

  •  Microcystins

  •  Nodularins

  •  Prymnesium toxins

  •  Saxitoxin / PSP