Degradation of natural toxins by phthalocyanines–example of cyanobacterial toxin, microcystin

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Phthalocyanines (Pcs) are promising photosensitizers for use in various branches of science and industry. In the presence of visible light and diatomic oxygen, phthalocyanines can react to produce singlet oxygen, a member of reactive oxygen species able to damage different molecules and tissues. The aim of this study was to investigate the ability of phthalocyanines to degrade natural toxins in the presence of visible light. As the representative of hardly degradable toxins, a group of cyanobacterial peptide toxins—microcystin-LR—was chosen for this study. According to our results, phthalocyanines are able to degrade 61,5% of microcystins within a 48-hour incubation (38% of microcystins was degraded after 24 h and 24% after 12 h of incubation). Although other oxidants like hydrogen peroxide or ozone are able to degrade microcystins within several hours, we assume that by optimizing the spectrum emitted by light source and by changing the absorption characteristics of Pcs, microcystins degradation by phthalocyanines could be more effective in the near future.

Keywords: microcystin, phthalocyanine, singlet oxygen, toxin, water treatment

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