A fishy odor episode in a north China reservoir: Occurrence, origin, and possible odor causing compounds


A significant outbreak of fishy odor occurred in a reservoir located in Inner Mongolia, China, in the winter of 2011, and the odor rating, algal density and concentrations of some potential odorous compounds were monitored over a period of two months. The peak odor rating of the fishy odor was 7 according to flavor profile analysis. Among the dominant algal species (two diatom and one chrysophyte species) observed during the survey, the chrysophyte Dinobryon sp. was the most abundant species, with the peak density recorded at 88,520 cells/mL. Seven potential algal metabolites including heptanal, 2,4-heptadienal, 2,4-decadienal, nonanal, 2-octenal, 2,6-nonadienal and hexanal were detected. The principal component analysis result showed that n-hexanal, n-heptanal and 2,4-decadienal, possibly the metabolites of diatoms, and 2,4-heptadienal, possibly the metabolite of Dinobryon sp., might have contributed to the fishy odor episode. This study demonstrated that the fishy odor episode in this reservoir might be caused by the abnormal growth of chrysophytes and diatoms under the ice-cover.

Journal of Environmental Sciences
Jianwei Yu
Professor of Environmental Engineering
Ming Su
Ming Su
Associate Professor of Environmental Engneering

My research interest is water quality problems in drinking water bodies, with a focus on harmful algal blooms and associated taste & odor problems.

Min Yang
Min Yang
Professor of Environmental Engneering, Vice Director of RCEES, CAS