Dissolved (extracellular) microcystin (MC) concentrations were determined at 3 sampling stations on Lake Kovada, Turkey. The dominant species of cyanobacteria found in August and September of 2006 were Microcystis aeruginosa, Synechococcus sp., Phormidium limosum, Phormidium formosa and Planktothrix limnetica. MC concentrations in water were measured by ELISA and MC variants were examined by HPLC-PDA. Quantitative analysis by HPLC indicated that five MC variants (MC-LR, -RR, -LA, -LW, -LF) were identified in water samples from Kovada Lake. The maximum concentration of dissolved MC-LW was 98.9 mu g l(-1) in October. MC-LR was only detected in May at a concentration of 0.5 mu g l(-1). The cross reactivity of the antibody (MC10E7) to variants such as MC-LA MC-LW & MC-LF was low. Hence the results determined by ELISA were lower than those determined by HPLC in September and October samples due to differences in the specificity of the antibody to MC variants. Total extraceullar MCs was quantified by ELISA and ranged from 0.73 to 48.5 mu g MC-LR equivalents l(-1), which in some cases exceeded the WHO provisional Guideline Value for MC-LR in drinking water. This study confirms that the lakes of Turkey should be monitored for toxic cyanobacteria and for MCs to avoid or reduce the potential exposure of people to these health hazards. (C) 2009 Published by Elsevier B.V.