The effect of Poterioochromonas abundance on production of intra- and extracellular microcystin-LR concentration

Xue Zhang, Hongying Hu, Yujie Men, Kirsten Seestern Christoffersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Due to its capability for producing various microcystins, Microcystis aeruginosa is recognized as one of the most toxic, bloom-forming cyanobacteria. In this study, the fates of intra- and extracellular microcystin-LR (MC-LR) were investigated when the mixotrophic golden alga Poterioochromonas sp. (ZX1) was grazing on M. aeruginosa cells. In the control groups, the total MC-LR concentration increased with the growth of M. aeruginosa with an MC-LR content per cell of 0.5-1.5 × 10-8 μg cell-1. In the treatment with ZX1, the total MC-LR decreased linearly throughout the incubation period. In particular, intracellular MC-LR disappeared with a loss of M. aeruginosa cells in the first few days. Part of the intracellular MC-LR was released to the medium under the grazing stress, resulting in an increase of extracellular MC-LR. The degradation rate of MC-LR was positively related to the initial abundance of ZX1 and negatively related to that of M. aeruginosa. The inhibition ratio of MC-LR production dropped sharply from 98 to 67% when the initial abundance of M. aeruginosa increased from 106 to 107 cells ml-1. However, it increased from 84 to 99% when the initial ZX1 abundance increased from 104 to 105 cells ml-1. The effective removal of both M. aeruginosa cells and MC-LR was observed under lower M. aeruginosa abundance (< 106 cells ml-1) and higher ZX1 abundance (> 1% of M. aeruginosa abundance). Light had little impact on MC-LR degradation, but MC-LR degradation decreased due to the loss of ZX1 after 10 days of darkness. This study showed that the interactions between M. aeruginosa and ZX1 were strongly influenced by their initial abundances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-246
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


  • Cell abundance
  • Golden alga
  • Grazing
  • Microcystin-LR degradation
  • Microcystis aeruginosa
  • Poterioochromonas sp.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science

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