30. Eutrophication and Water Poisons

  1. Amos Richmond Ph.D., Prof. Emeritus2 and
  2. Qiang Hu Ph.D.3
  1. Susan Blackburn

Published Online: 12 APR 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118567166.ch30

Handbook of Microalgal Culture: Applied Phycology and Biotechnology, Second Edition

Handbook of Microalgal Culture: Applied Phycology and Biotechnology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Blackburn, S. (2013) Eutrophication and Water Poisons, in Handbook of Microalgal Culture: Applied Phycology and Biotechnology, Second Edition (eds A. Richmond and Q. Hu), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118567166.ch30

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Ben Gurion University of the Negev at Sede-Boker, Israel, The Blaustien Institutes for Desert Research

  2. 3

    Professor, Laboratory for Algae Research and Biotechnology, Co-Director, Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation, Arizona State University, Arizona

Author Information

  1. Australian National Algae Culture Collection, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 12 APR 2013
  2. Published Print: 7 MAY 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470673898

Online ISBN: 9781118567166



  • eutrophication;
  • ecosystem;
  • phytoplankton;
  • microalgae;
  • harmful algal blooms;
  • toxins;
  • poisons;
  • nutrients


Eutrophication is an increase in the rate of supply of inorganic and organic nutrients to an ecosystem. There has been a significant increase in eutrophication globally over recent decades, with anthropogenic influences being the major causative factors resulting in increased primary productivity. Consequences of this increased primary productivity are harmful algal blooms (HABs) increasing in geographic spread and frequency, causing water poisoning events, often with far-reaching ecosystem and human health effects. Poisonous HAB species span a wide microalgal diversity including the dinoflagellates, diatoms, raphidophytes, and cyanobacteria, producing a diverse array of toxins. Poisoning events include paralytic shellfish poisoning and other neurotoxic shellfish poisonings, diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, cyanotoxic effects, and others. Which species dominate is influenced not only by overall nutrient increase but also by changes in specific nutrients and the nutrient ratios. Interactions between eutrophication, the algal biology and physiology, the physics of the system, and other ecological parameters are all important. Regulatory and monitoring requirements are a necessity in order to mitigate and manage the negative impact of water poisonings. There are increased efforts to model and predict HABs to improve management of water poisonings. While most water poisoning effects are negative, positive aspects are the use of toxins as standards for monitoring and as high-value medical therapeutic agents. Water poisons have long been recognised internationally as serious environmental and health issues and, consequently, there are global programmes addressing eutrophication, HABs, and their poisoning effects, as well as new concerns about the interactions of eutrophication with climate change and variability.