The toxicity and growth of Microcystis aeruginosa (UV-006) from the Hartbeespoort Dam, South Africa were investigated at different temperatures and photon fluence rates under laboratory conditions. Cells harvested in late logarithmic growth phase were most toxic when grown at 20°C (LD50) median lethal dose [IP, mouse]=25.4 mg kg(-1)). Toxicity was markedly reduced at growth temperatures above 28° C. Fluence rate had a smaller effect on the toxicity of the cells, but toxicity tended to be less at the very low and high light fluences. Optimal conditions for growth did not coincide with those for toxin production. Well-aerated cultures of this isolate kept at pH 9.5 by CO2 addition, a temperature of 20-24° C, a fluence rate of 145 μmol photons m(-2) s(-1) and harvested in the late logarithmic growth phase yielded the maximum quantity of toxin.