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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME - Vol. 48, No. 1 - Feature article
Potentially toxic scum of Microcystis in a freshwater lake; inset: Microcystis colony. Photos: Josje Snoek (inset) and Petra M. Visser

Kardinaal WEA, Janse I, Kamst-van Agterveld M, Meima M, Snoek J, Mur LR, Huisman J, Zwart G, Visser P


Microcystis genotype succession in relation to microcystin concentrations in freshwater lakes


Harmful cyanobacteria ('blue-green algae') can form a serious threat in recreational waters and drinking-water reservoirs. The succession of toxic and nontoxic strains is poorly understood. Kardinaal and co-workers studied seasonal changes in genotype composition of the cyanobacterium Microcystis in 3 lakes, using molecular tools (rRNA of the ITS region combined with DGGE analysis). In 2 lakes, they observed seasonal replacement of various genotypes, but toxic genotypes dominated throughout the summer. In one lake, the seasonal succession started with a population consisting of several toxic genotypes, which were gradually replaced by non-toxic genotypes at the height of the summer bloom. The results demonstrate that changes in genotype composition may explain toxin dynamics of cyanobacterial blooms.


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