In situ measurement of odor compound production by benthic cyanobacteria

Yan Min Chen, Peter Hobson, Michael D. Burch, Tsair Fuh Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


A simple technique was developed to make in situ measurements of emission rates of two common odorants, 2-MIB and geosmin, and was validated with different natural communities of benthic cyanobacterial mats in Hope Valley Reservoir (HVR), South Australia, and Kin-Men Water Treatment Plant (TLR-WTP), Taiwan. A pair of parallel columns was used to differentiate between emission and loss rates caused by biodegradation, volatilization, and other mechanisms. Experimental results indicated that the loss rates followed a first-order relationship for all cases tested, with biodegradation and volatilization being the key mechanisms. The loss rates were comparable to those reported in the literature for biodegradation and those calculated from two-film theory for volatilization. After accounting for the loss rates, the net emission of geosmin and 2-MIB was estimated from experimental data. Odorant emission rates on the basis of column surface area, cyanobacterial cell number, and chlorophyll a (chl-a) were 4.2-4.4 ng h-1 cm-2, 1.0-5.5 × 10 -6 ng h-1 cell-1, and 3.2-3.5 ng h-1 μg-chl-1, respectively for 2-MIB released from benthic mats in TLR-WTP, and, 18-190 ng h-1 cm-2, 0.053-1.8 × 10-3 ng h-1 cell-1, and 48-435 ng h -1 μg-chl-1 respectively for geosmin from benthic mats in HVR. The method developed provides a simple means to estimate the emission rates of odorants and possibly other algal metabolites from benthic cyanobacterial mats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-775
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Monitoring
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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