Linda Lawton
Title: Professor
First Name: Linda
Surname: Lawton
Position: Professor
Telephone: +44 (0) 1224 262823

Key Duties and Responsibilities

  • Research Group leader in Cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins and algal biotechnology.
  • Graduate School Leader for IDEAS Research Institute.
  • Director of PgCert Research Methods supporting Research Students across the University and also providing supervisory training.

Academic Background

  • PhD, University of Dundee, 1992, ‘Biological effects and significance of cyanobacterial toxins’
  • BSc Honours, Brewing with Microbiology, Heriot-Watt University, 1985

Research Interests / Professional Background

As Professor of Environmental Microbiology, Prof. Lawton has a specific interest in natural toxins produced in water by cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) and all aspects of the natural ecology that influence their production and persistence. This work is primarily applied, with prevention and remediation being the key focus. Her research group have pioneered both rapid, robust detection methods for cyanotoxins and treatment methods for their removal from drinking water supplies. For many years now the use of photocatalytic water treatment for use in the destruction of toxins and pathogens in water has been a focus of research. This work is complemented by investigations into the mechanisms and optimisation of low cost biodegradation systems using aquatic bacteria. Other key areas of focus include the isolation, characterisation and development of high purity bioactive compounds from cyanobacteria through to the provision of fine biochemical reagents. This research has lead to collaborations around the globe, specifically in Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, North & South America and across Europe.

Additional Information / Media work / Funding

Current Funded Research Projects:

  • Removal of Taste and Odour in Aquaculture (EU)
  • Development of high purity biochemical reagents from natural products (Industrial sponsor)
  • Biological desalination of water exploiting cyanobacteria (EPSRC)
  • Establishment of culturing methods to support ecotoxicological testing (KTP)

Current Research Degree Students:

  • Luca Giaramida Biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems and the influence on biodegradation
  • Shaista Hameed Bioactive compounds from cyanobacteria
  • Aakash Welgamaga Don Biodegradation of microcystins
  • Vijith Chandu Removal of cylindrospermopsin through photocatalysis and biodegradation
  • Carlos Pestana Controlling microcystin levels in water both at source and through treatment
  • Radisti Praptiwi Development of novel photobioreactors for the production of high value algal products
  • Thaslim Arif Biological desalination of seawater
  • Donall McGee Establishment of marine invertebrate culturing methods to support ecotoxicological testing
  • Oluwatosin Tokode – Photocatalytic reactor design for removal of environmental pollutants.

Professional Body Membership

  • Society for General Microbiology
  • Freshwater Biological Association
  • Scottish Association of Marine Science

Key Publications

  1. Robertson, P.K.J., Bahnemann, D.W., Lawton, L.A.., Bellu, E., (2011) A study of the kinetic solvent isotope effect on the destruction of microcystin-LR and geosmin using TiO2 photocatalysis Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 108-109, 1-15.
  2. Edwards, C. and Lawton L.A. (2010) Assessment of microcystin purity using charged aerosol detection. Journal of Chromatography A, 1217, 5233–5238.
  3. Lawton, L.A., Chambers, H., Edwards, C.  Nwaopara, A.A and Healy (2010) Rapid detection of microcystins in cells and water. Toxicon, 55, 973-978.
  4. Graham, D., Kisch, H. Lawton, L.A., Robertson, P.K.J. (2010) The degradation of microcystin-LR using doped visible light absorbing photocatalysts. Chemosphere, 78, 1182-5.
  5. Manage, P.M., Edwards, C. Singh, B.K. Lawton, L.A. (2009) Isolation and Identification of Novel Microcystin-Degrading Bacteria. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 75, 6924-6928.
  6. Manage, P.M., Edwards, C. Lawton, L.A. (2009) Biodegradation of microcystin-LR by natural bacterial populations. Interdisciplinary Studies on Environmental Chemistry, 277-285.
  7. Robertson, P.K.J., Black, K.D., Adams, M., Willis, K., Buchan, F., Orr, H., Lawton, L.A., McCullagh, C. (2009) A new generation of biocides for control of crustacea in fish farms. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology, 95, 58-63.
  8. Liu, I., Lawton, L.A., Bahnemann, D.W., Liuc, L., Proft, B., Robertson, P.K.J. (2009) The photocatalytic decomposition of microcystin-LR using selected titanium dioxide materials. Chemosphere, 76, 549-553.
  9. Edwards C, Lawton L.A. (2009) bioremediation of cyanotoxins. Adv Appl Microbiol., 67,109-29.

10. Bajpai, R., Sharma, N.K., Lawton, L.A., Edwards, C., Rai, A.K. (2009) Microcystin producing cyanobacterium Nostoc sp. BHU001 from a pond in India. Toxicon, 53, 587-590.

11. Prakash, S., Lawton, L.A. and Edwards, C. (2009) Stability of toxigenic Microcystis Blooms. Harmful Algae, 8, 377-384.

12. Peuthert, A., Lawton, L. and Pflugmacher, S. (2008) In vivo influence of cyanobacterial toxins on enzyme activity and gene expression of protein phosphatases in Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)Toxicon, 52, 84-90

13. Edwards, C., Graham, D., Fowler, N. and Lawton, L.A. (2008) Biodegradation of microcystins and nodularin in freshwaters. Chemosphere, 73, 1315-1321.

14. Bellu, E., Lawton, L.A.  and  Robertson, P.K.J. (2008) Photocatalytic Destruction of Geosmin Using Novel Pelleted Titanium Dioxide. Journal of Advanced Oxidation Technologies, 11, 384-388.

15. Akin-Oriola, G.A. and Lawton, L.A.  (2007) Primary detection of cyanobacterial microcystins. Journal of Afrotropical Zoology, Special Issue, 21-24.

16. Yates, K., Davies, I., Webster, L., Pollard, P.  Lawton, L., and Moffat, C. (2007) Passive sampling: partition coefficients for a silicone rubber reference phase. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 9, 1116-1121.   

17. Jayatissa, L.P., Silva, E.I.L., McElhiney, J, and Lawton, L.A. (2006) Occurrence of toxigenic cyanobacterial blooms in freshwaters of Sri Lanka. Systematic and Applied Microbiology, 26, 156-164.

18. Robertson, R.F., Hammond, A., Jauncey, K., Beveridge, M.C.M. and Lawton, L.A. (2006) An investigation into the occurrence of geosmin responsible for earthy-musty taints in UK farmed rainbow trout, Onchorhynchus mykiss. Aquaculture, 259, 153-163.

19. Akin-Oriola, G.A. and Lawton, L.A.  (2006) The Detection and Quantification of Cyanobacterial Toxins in Water Using the Brine Shrimp (Artemia salina) Assay. West Africa Journal of Applied Ecology, 9, 16-18.

20. Robertson, J. M.C, Robertson, P. K. J. and Lawton, L.A. (2005) A comparison of the effectiveness of TiO2 photocatalysis and UVA photolysis for the destruction of three pathogenic micro-organisms. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry, 175, 51-56.

21. Liu, I., Lawton, L.A., Bahnemann, D.W. and Robertson, P.K.J. (2005) The photocatalytic destruction of the cyanotoxin, nodularin using TiO2. Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 60, 245-252.

22. Barco, M., Lawton, L.A., Rivera, J. and Caixach, J. (2005) Optimization of intracellular microcystin extraction for their subsequent analysis by high-performance liquid chromatography. Journal of Chromatography A. 1074, 23-30.

23. Robertson, R.F., Jauncey, K., Beveridge, M.C.M. and Lawton, L.A. (2005) Depuration rates and the sensory threshold concentration of geosmin responsible for earthy-musty taint in rainbow trout, Onchorhynchus mykiss. Aquaculture, 245, 89-99.

24. McElhiney, J. and Lawton, L.A. (2005) Detection of the cyanobacterial hepatotoxins microcystins.  Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 203, 219-230.

25. Engelke, C.J., Lawton, L.A. and Jaspars, M. (2003) Elevated microcystin and nodularin levels in cyanobacteria growing in spent medium of Oscillatoria agardhii. Archive für Hydrobiologia, 158, 541-550.

26. Liu, I., Lawton, L.A., and Robertson, P.K.J. (2003) Mechanistic studies of the photocatalytic oxidation of microcystin-LR: An investigation of by products of the decomposition process. Environmental Science and Technology, 37, 3214-3219.

27. Lawton, L.A., Robertson, P.K.J., Robertson, R.F. and Bruce, F.G. (2003) The destruction of 2-methylisoborneol and geosmin using titanium dioxide photocatalysis. Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 44, 9-13.

28. Lawton, L.A., Robertson, P.K.J., Cornish, B.J.P.A., Marr, I.L. and Jaspars, M. (2003) Processes influencing surface interaction and photocatalytic destruction of microcystins on titanium dioxide photocatalysts. Journal of Catalysis, 213, 109-113.

29. McElhiney, J., Drever, M. Lawton, L.A. and Porter, A.J.R. (2002) Rapid isolation of a single-chain antibody against the cyanobacterial toxin microcystin-LR by phage display and its use in the immunoaffinity concentration of microcystins from water. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 68, 5288-5295.

30. Liu, I., Lawton, L.A., Cornish, B. and Robertson, P.K.J. (2002) Mechanistic and toxicity studies of the photocatalytic oxidation of microcystin-LR. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry, 148, 349-354.

31. Strachan, G., McElhiney, J., Drever, M.R., McIntosh, F. Lawton, L.A., Paton, G.I. and Porter, A.J.R. (2002) Rapid selection of antihapten antibodies from synthetic and semi-synthetic antibody phage display libraries. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 210, 257-261.

32. Lawton, L.A. and Edwards, C. (2001) Purification of Microcystins. Journal of Chromatography A, 912, 191-209.

33. McElhiney, J., Lawton, L.A. and Leifert, C. (2001) Investigations into the inhibitory effects of microcystins on plant growth, and toxicity of plant tissues following exposure. Toxicon, 39, 1411-1420.

Book Chapters

1.  Lawton, L.A. and Edwards, C. (2007) Conventional Laboratory Techniques. In: Proceedings of the Interagency, International Symposium on Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms (ISOC-HAB): State-of-the-Science and Research Needs. Springer, USA.

2.  Lawton, L.A., and Robertson, R.F. (2003) Off-flavour problems and potential solutions within the UK trout farming industry. Ed: A.M. Rimando and K.K. Schrader. American Chemical Society, Washington DC, 55-68.

3.  Annadotter, H., Cronberg, G., Lawton, L., Hassson, H.-B., Goethe, U. and Skulberg, O. (2001) An extensive outbreak of gastroenteritis associated with the toxic cyanobacterium Planktothrix agardhii (Oscillatoriales, Cyanophyceae) in Scania, South Sweden. In: Cyanotoxins - Occurrence, Causes, Consequences. Ed: I Chorus. Springer.

4.  Meriluoto, J., Lawton, L.A. and Harada, K. -I. (2000) Isolation and detection of microcystins and nodularins, cyanobacterial peptide hepatotoxins. In: Methods in Molecular Biology, Bacterial Toxin Methods and Protocols. Ed: O. Holst. Humana Press.

5.  Lawton, L. A., Chorus, I. and Marsalek, B. (1999) Determination of cyanobacteria in the laboratory. In: Toxic Cyanobacteria in Water - A Guide to their Public Health Consequences, Monitoring and Management. Eds: I. Chorus and J. Bartram, E & FN Spon, London, 347-368.

6.  Harada, K-I., Kondo, F. and Lawton, L.A. (1999) Laboratory analysis of cyanotoxins. In: Toxic Cyanobacteria in Water - A Guide to their Public Health Consequences, Monitoring and Management. Eds: I. Chorus and J. Bartram, E & FN Spon, London, 369-405.