Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

John Berry

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Bruce McCord

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Co-Committee Chair

Third Advisor's Name

Yuk-Ching Tse-Dinh


Microcystin, Capillary electrophoresis, Mass spectrometry

Date of Defense



The presence of harmful algal blooms (HAB) is a growing concern in aquatic environments. Among HAB organisms, cyanobacteria are of special concern because they have been reported worldwide to cause environmental and human health problem through contamination of drinking water. Although several analytical approaches have been applied to monitoring cyanobacteria toxins, conventional methods are costly and time-consuming so that analyses take weeks for field sampling and subsequent lab analysis. Capillary electrophoresis (CE) becomes a particularly suitable analytical separation method that can couple very small samples and rapid separations to a wide range of selective and sensitive detection techniques. This paper demonstrates a method for rapid separation and identification of four microcystin variants commonly found in aquatic environments. CE coupled to UV and electrospray ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ESI-TOF) procedures were developed. All four analytes were separated within 6 minutes. The ESI-TOF experiment provides accurate molecular information, which further identifies analytes.





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