Microcystin production by oscillatorialean cyanobacteria isolated from cryopreserved Antarctic mats

Twenty cyanobacterial strains of eight morphospecies isolated from deep-frozen (-15 °C) mat samples originally collected on Ross Island, in Victoria Land, and on the McMurdo Ice Shelf were screened for the presence of genes encoding for production of anatoxins, cylindrospermopsin, microcystin/nodularin and saxitoxin. One strain of each of Microcoleus autumnalis and Phormidesmis priestleyi and two strains of Wilmottia murrayi were found to produce microcystin. No toxin production was detected in the other 16 strains representing five species. The four toxin-producing strains were characterised using both morphological and molecular approaches. Phylogenetic analyses using partial 16S rRNA sequences were consistent with the morphological identification of all four strains. They were all found to contain a fragment of the mcyE gene, which is involved in microcystin biosynthesis. ELISA analysis of extracts from cultures of these strains confirmed the presence of low concentrations of microcystin: 0.35 μg/L in M. autumnalis, <0.15 μg/L in P. priestleyi, 1.60 μg/L in W. murrayi strain 1 and 0.9 μg/L in W. murrayi strain 2. This study includes the first report of microcystin synthesis by W. murrayi.


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Authors: Usman, Aminu Surajo, Merican, Faradina, Zaki, Syazana, Broady, Paul, Convey, Peter ORCIDORCID record for Peter Convey, Muangmai, Narongrit

On this site: Peter Convey
1 December, 2022
Harmful Algae / 120
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