Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Davis

UC Davis Previously Published Works bannerUC Davis

Analysis of Covalently Bound Microcystins in Sediments and Clam Tissue in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, California, USA.


Harmful cyanobacterial blooms compromise human and environmental health, mainly due to the cyanotoxins they often produce. Microcystins (MCs) are the most commonly measured group of cyanotoxins and are hepatotoxic, neurotoxic, and cytotoxic. Due to MCs ability to covalently bind to proteins, quantification in complex matrices is difficult. To analyze bound and unbound MCs, analytical methods were optimized for analysis in sediment and clam tissues. A clean up step was incorporated to remove lipids, improving percent yield. This method was then applied to sediment and clam samples collected from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (Delta) in the spring and fall of 2017. Water samples were also tested for intracellular and extracellular MCs. These analyses were used to quantify the partitioning of MCs among sediment, clams, and water, and to examine whether MCs persist during non-summer months. Toxin analysis revealed that multiple sediment samples collected in the Delta were positive for MCs, with a majority of the positive samples from sites in the San Joaquin River, even while water samples from the same location were below detection limit. These data highlight the importance of analyzing MCs in complex matrices to accurately evaluate environmental risk.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View