University of Dundee

Professor Geoffrey Codd MBE FRSE

Cyanotoxins and microbial metabolites
Emeritus Professor of Microbiology
School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee
Full Telephone: 
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Cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins and their risk management for the protection of water resources and health

The cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) which occur globally in aquatic and terrestrial environments produce a wide range of potent toxins.

These include hepato-, neuro-, cyto- and genotoxins, carcinogens and tumour promoters. The practical, health and economic significance of these microbial secondary metabolites continues to be confirmed in the UK and internationally (Huisman et al., 2018; Svircev et al.,2019;  Codd et al., 2020).

Practical solutions to reduce the mass development of cyanobacteria in waterbodies are being identified and delivered to end-user groups (Burford et al., 2019).


Bradley, W.G., Borenstein, A.R., Nelson, L.M., Codd, G.A., Rosen, B.H., Stommel, E.W. and Cox, P.A.: Is exposure to cyanobacteria an environemental risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other neurodegnerative diseases? Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration 14, 325-333 (2013).

Codd, G.A. and Metcalf, J. S.: Toxic and non-toxic cyanobacteria: evoloving concepts. Perspectives in Phycology 1, 3-5 (2014).

Svircev, Z.B., Tokodi, N., Drobac, D. and Codd, G.A.: Cyanobacteria in aquatic ecosystems in Serbia: effects on water quality, human health and biodiversity. Systematics and Biodiversity 12, 261-270 (2014).

Metcalf, J.S. and Codd, G.A. Cyanobacterial Toxins (Cyanotoxins) in Water. Foundation for Water Research, Marlow Buckinghamshire, UK, pp. 43 (2014).

Svircev, Z.B., Tokodi, N., Drobac, D. and Codd, G.A.: Cyanobacteria in aquatic ecosystems in Serbia: effects on water quality, human health and biodiversity. Systematics and Biodiversity 12, 261-270 (2014).

McGorum, B.C., Pirie, R.S., Glendinning, L., McLachlan, G., Metcalf, J.S., Banack, S.A., Cox, P.A. and Codd, G.A.: Grazing livestock are exposed to cyanobacteria. Veterninary Research 46, Art. 16 (2015).

Codd, G.A., Morton, H. and Baker, P.D.: George Francis: a pioneer in the investigation of the quality of South Australia’s drinking water sources (1878-1883). Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 139, 164-170 (2015).

Codd, G.A., Plinski, M., Surosz, W., Hutson, J. and Fallowfield, H.J.: Publication in 1672 of animal deaths at the Tuchomskie Lake, northern Poland and a likely role of cyanobacterial blooms. Toxicon 108, 285-286 (2015). 

Gurbuz, F., Ceylan, S., Odabasi, M. and Codd, G.A.: Hepatotoxic microcystin removal using pumice embedded monolithic composite cryogel as an alternative water treatment method. Water Research 90, 337-343 (2016).

Drobac, D., Tokodi, N., Lujic, J., Marinovic, Z., Subakov-Simic, G., Dulic, T., Vazic, T., Nybom, S., Meriluoto, J., Codd, G.A. and Svircev, Z.: Cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins in fishponds and their effects on fish tissues. Harmful Algae 55, 66-76 (2016).

Van Wichelen, J., Vanormelingen, P., Codd, G.A. and Vyverman, W.: The common bloom-forming cyanobacterium Microscystis is prone to a wide array of microbial antagonists. Harmful Algae 55, 97-111 (2016).

Descy, J-P., Leprieur, F., Pirlot, S., Leporcq, B., Van Wichelen, J.,  Peretyatko, A., Teissier, S., Codd, G.A., Triest, L., Vyverman, W. and Wilmotte, A.: Identifying the factors determining blooms of cyanobacteria in a set of shallow lakes. Ecological Informatics  34, 129-138 (2016). 

Gurbuz, F., Uzunmehmetoglu, O.Y., Diler, O., Metcalf, J.S. and Codd, G.A.: Occurrence of microcystins in water, bloom, sediment and fish from a public water supply. Science of the Total Environment 562, 860-868 (2016).

Svircev, Z., Obradovic, V., Codd, G.A., Marjanovic, P., Spoof, L., Drobac, D., Tokodi, N., Petkovic, A., Nenin, T., Simeunovic, J., Vasic, T. and Meriluoto, J.: Massive fish mortality and Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii bloom in Aleksandrovac Lake. Ecotoxicology 25, 1353-1363 (2016).

Svircev, Z., Drobac, D., Tokodi, N., Mijovic, B., Codd, G.A. and Meriluoto, J.: Toxicology of microcystins with reference to cases of intoxications and epidemiological investigations of exposure to cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins. Archives of Toxicology 91, 621-650 (2017).

Lara, Y., de Wever, A., Verniers, G., Pirlot, S., Viroux, L., Leporcq, B., Vanormelingen, P., van Wichelen, J., Van de Gucht, K., Peretyatko, A., Tessier, S., Lambion, A., Reilly, M., Menzel, D., Wojnicz, A., Codd, G., Triest, L., Vyverman, W., Descy, J-P. And wilmotte, A.: Metadata compilation for the B-Blooms2 dataset: Cyanobacterial bloom monitoring. Freshwater Metadata Journal 28, 1-8 (2017). DOI 10, 15504/fmj.2017.28                                      

Metcalf, J.S., Young, F.M. and Codd, G.A.: Performance assessment of a cylindrospermopsin ELISA with purified compounds and cyanobacterial extracts. Environmental Forensics 18, 147-152 (2017).                                                                                                                       

Meriluoto, M., Blaha, L., Bojadziya, G., Bormans, M., Brient, L., Codd, G.A., Drobac, D., Faassen, E.J., Fastner, J., Hiskia, A., Ibelings, B.W., Kaloudis, T., Kokocinski, M., Kurmayer, R., Pantelic, D., Quesada, A., Salmaso, N., Tokodi, N., Triantis, T.M., Visser, M.M. and Svircev, Z.: Toxic cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins in European waters – recent progress achieved though the CYANOCOST Action and challenges for the future. Advances in Oceanography and Limnology 8, DOI:10.4081/aiol.2017.4629 (2017).

Nunn, P.B. and Codd, G.A.: Metabolic solutions to the biosynthesis of some diaminomonocarboxylic acids in nature: Formation in cyanobacteria of the neurotoxins 3-N-methyl-2,3-diaminopropanoic (BMAA) and 2,4-diaminobutanoic acid (2,4-DAB). Phytochemistry 144, 253-270 (2017).

 Meriluoto, J. Spoof, L. and Codd, G.A. (Eds.) Handbook of Cyanobacterial Monitoring and Cyanotoxin Analysis. Wiley, Chichester, UK, pp. 539 (2017).

Jungblut, A.D., Wilbraham, J., Banack, S.A., Metcalf, J.S. and Codd, G.A.: Microcystins, BMAA and BMAA isomers in 100-year-old Antarctic cyanobacterial mats collected during Captain R.F. Scott’s Discovery Expedition. European Journal of Phycology 53, 115-121.

Tokodi, N., Drobac, D., Meriluoto, J., Lujic, J., Marinovic, Z., Vasic, T., Nybom, S., Simeunovic, J., Dulic, T., Lazic, G., Petrovic, T., Vukovic-Gacic, B., Sunjog, K., Kolarevic, S., Krakum-Kolarevic, M., Subakov-Simic, G., Milanivic, B., Codd, G.A. and Svircev, Z.: Cyanobacterial effects in Lake Ludos: Is preservation of a degraded aquatic ecosysytem justified ? Science of the Total Environment 635, 1047-1062 (2018).

 Huisman, J., Codd, G.A., Paerl, H.W., Ibelings, B.W., Verspagen, J.M.H. and Visser, P.M.: Cyanobacterial blooms. Nature Reviews Microbiology 16, 471-483 (2018).


Codd, G.A. and Nunn, P.B.: Cyanotoxin production beyond the cyanobacteria. Toxicon 168, 93-94 (2019).

Svircev, Z., Dulic, T., Obrecht, I., Codd, G.A., Lehmkuhl, F., Markovic, S.B., Hambach, U. and Meriluoto, J.: Cyanobacteria and loess – an underestimated interaction. Plant and Soil 439, 293-308 (2019).

Svircev, Z., Lalic, D., Savic, G.B., Tokodi, N., Backovic, D.D., Chen, L., Meriluoto, G. and Codd, G.A.: Global geographical and historical overviewof cyanotoxin distribution and cyanobacterial poisonings. Archives of Toxicology 93, 2429-2481 (2019).

Nunn, P.B. and Codd, G.A.: Environmnetal distribution of the neurotoxin L-BMAA in Paenibacillus species. Toxicology Research 8, 781-783 (2019).

Burford, M., Gobler, C.J., Hamilton, D.P., Visser, P.M., Lurling, M. and Codd, G.A.: Solutions for monitoring cyanobacterial blooms: A scientific summary for policy makers. IOC/UNESCO, Paris (IOC/INF-1382) pp. 16 (2019).

Metcalf, J.S. and Codd, G.A.: Co-occurrence of cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins with other environmnetal health hazards:impacts and implications. Toxins 12 (10), 629 (2020).  

Codd, G.A., Testai, E., Funari, E. And Svircev, Z.: Cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins and                            human health. In: Water Treatment for Purification from Cyanobacteria and Cyantoxins. Hiskia, A.E., Triantis, T.M., Antoniou, M.G., Kaloudis, T. and Dionysiou, D.D. (Eds.), Wiley, Chichester, UK, pp. 37-68 (2020).