Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, can occur in fresh, brackish and sea waters throughout the world. In Scotland, they can occur in quantity in lochs, ponds, canals and reservoirs. While usually green or blue-green in colour, they may be blue, black, dark brown or red.
Surveys in different parts of the world have found that approximately 45% to 90% of blooms of blue-green algae produce a range of toxins including neuro- and hepatotoxins and lipopolysaccharides.
The assessment of the associated risks to public health from algal blooms is complex, therefore specialist advice should be sought.
Guidelines and information have been compiled to support the assessment and response to blue-green algal blooms.