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  • Microcystins are a class of toxins produced by certain freshwater cyanobacteria; primarily Microcystis aeruginosa but also other Microcystis, as well as members of the Planktothrix, Anabaena, Oscillatoria and Nostoc genii. Over 50 different microcystins have been discovered so far, of which Microcystin-LR is the most common. Chemically they are monocyclic heptapeptides and are produced through nonribosomal peptides synthases. Microcyctins can be produced in large quantities during algal blooms and pose a major threat to drinking and irrigation water supplies, as well as the environment at large.