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Fishy odor has become one of the most often encountered aesthetic water quality problems in drinking water. While fresh water algae living in colder water can produce offensive fishy odors, their environmental behaviors remain poorly understood. In this study, two chrysophyte species (Synura uvella and Ochromonas sp.), which are often associated with fishy odor events, were selected to investigate the effect of temperature (8, 16, and 24 °C) and light intensity (10, 41, and 185 μmol photons m s) on algal growth and odorant production. Five polyunsaturated aldehyde derivatives, including 2,4-heptadienal, 2-octenal, 2,4-octadienal, 2,4-decadienal, and 2,4,7-dectridienal, were identified as fishy/cod liver oil/fatty/rancid descriptors in the cultures of the two algae based on gas chromatography-olfactometry-mass spectrometry and comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography mass spectrometry. While biomass yield increased with the increase in temperature for both species, significantly higher odorant yields (production of odorants per cell) were obtained at 8 °C. The total odorant production and cell yield of the odorants decreased with the increase in light intensity from 10 to 185 μmol photons m s. The biodegradation half-lives for the released odorants were 6-10 h at 8 °C and 2-4 h at 24 °C, whereas the volatilization half-lives were 36-97 d at 8 °C and 6-17 d at 24 °C, suggesting that temperature-dependent biodegradation was an important factor controlling the fate of fishy compounds in aquatic environments. The results of this study will help clarify why most fishy odor events occur in cooler seasons, and provide knowledge related to cold water persistence for the management of fishy odor problems associated with algae.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Water research
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