Author ORCID Identifier

Jason Marion ORCID iD icon


Environmental Health Science

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Lake Erie beaches exhibit impaired water quality due to fecal contamination and cyanobacterial blooms, though few studies address potential relationships between these two public health hazards. Using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), Microcystis aeruginosa was monitored in conjunction with a human-associated fecal marker (Bacteroides fragilis group; g-Bfra), microcystin, and water quality parameters at two beaches to evaluate their potential associations. During the summer of 2010, water samples were collected 32 times from both Euclid and Villa Angela beaches. The phycocyanin intergenic spacer (PC-IGS) and the microcystin-producing (mcyA) gene in M. aeruginosa were quantified with qPCR. PC-IGS and mcyA were detected in 50.0% and 39.1% of samples, respectively, and showed increased occurrences after mid-August. Correlation and regression analyses showed that water temperature was negatively correlated with M. aeruginosa markers and microcystin. The densities of mcyA and the g-Bfra were predicted by nitrate, implicating fecal contamination as contributing to the growth of M. aeruginosa by nitrate loading. Microcystin was correlated with mcyA (r = 0.413, p < 0.01), suggesting toxin-producing M. aeruginosa populations may significantly contribute to microcystin production. Additionally, microcystin was correlated with total phosphorus (r = 0.628, p < 0.001), which was higher at Euclid (p < 0.05), possibly contributing to higher microcystin concentrations at Euclid.

Journal Title

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health