Growth and saxitoxin production by cylindrospermopsis raciborskii (cyanobacteria) correlate with water hardness

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The cosmopolitan and increasing distribution of Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii can be attributed to its ecophysiological plasticity and tolerance to changing environmental factors in water bodies. In reservoirs in the semi-arid region of Brazil, the presence and common dominance of C. raciborskii have been described in waters that are considered hard. We investigated the response of a Brazilian C. raciborskii strain to water hardness by evaluating its growth and saxitoxin production. Based on environmental data, a concentration of 5 mM of different carbonate salts was tested. These conditions affected growth either positively (MgCO3) or negatively (CaCO 3 and Na2CO3). As a control for the addition of cations, MgCl2, CaCl2 and NaCl were tested at 5 or 10 mM, and MgCl2 stimulated growth, NaCl slowed but sustained growth, and CaCl2 inhibited growth. Most of the tested treatments increased the saxitoxin (STX) cell quota after six days of exposure. After 12 days, STX production returned to concentrations similar to that of the control, indicating an adaptation to the altered water conditions. In the short term, cell exposure to most of the tested conditions favored STX production over neoSTX production. These results support the noted plasticity of C. raciborskii and highlight its potential to thrive in hard waters. Additionally, the observed relationship between saxitoxin production and water ion concentrations characteristic of the natural environments can be important for understanding toxin content variation in other harmful algae that produce STX. © 2013 by the authors.




Carneiro, R. L., Pacheco, A. B. F., & De Oliveira E Azevedo, S. M. F. (2013). Growth and saxitoxin production by cylindrospermopsis raciborskii (cyanobacteria) correlate with water hardness. Marine Drugs, 11(8), 2949–2963.

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