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Information on Microcystins
Microcystis is a family of blue green algae that proliferate in slow moving, nutrient rich waters. Unlike most other algae, however, microcystis produce a family of toxins, known as microcystins, which can cause serious illness in people and mortality in livestock and pets. As part a project lead by Peggy Lehman, Department of Water Resources, we have prepared a set of technical resources to provide basic information to scientists in local public health and natural resource agencies as well as the public about microcystins and risks associated with exposure to this family of toxins. The focus of this information is on the effects of microcystins on fish, wildlife, birds, and livestock, as follows:
- California Microcystin database, (provided as a zip file) a downloadable database that operates in Access Runtime, a free reader for Microsoft Access files. This database contains over 100 key references with information about geographical distribution, metabolism, and effects of microcystins.
- A report entitled Microcystins: A brief overview of their toxicity and effects, with special reference to fish, wildlife, and livestock. The audience for this report is staff at local agencies with responsibility for natural resource management and/or public health.
- A factsheet entitled Microcystis: Toxic blue-green algae. This factsheet was developed as a public service to those who would like information on microcystis occurrence, causes of blooms, and ways to avoid exposure.