Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Chemistry Dept.


Whitney King

Second Advisor

Denise Bruesewitz


Cyanobacteria blooms are a growing concern in the world, as they can form a dense and sometimes toxin scum on water bodies. This paper will outline and discuss the environmental conditions that produce cyanobacteria bloom with a focus on the toxins produced by blooms and specifically the detection of these toxins through two analytical methods. Of the various toxins cyanobacteria are capable of producing, this paper will focus on microcystins and BMAA, a family of hepatotoxins and a specific neurotoxin respectively. The two analytical methods discussed are liquid chromatography coupled mass spectrometry and ELISA kit techniques. The advantages and drawbacks of both methods will be compared with suggestions for future directions studying MC and BMAA in the Belgrade Lakes and elsewhere.


cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins, BMAA, microcystin, LCTOF, ELISA