Publications: Peer-reviewed journal articles (by staff)

The abundance of toxic genotypes is a key contributor to anatoxin variability in Phormidium-dominated benthic mats

11 October, 2017
CITATION

Wood SA, Puddick J. 2017. The abundance of toxic genotypes is a key contributor to anatoxin variability in Phormidium-dominated benthic mats. Marine Drugs. 15 (10), 307.

DOI link here

ABSTRACT

The prevalence of benthic proliferations of the anatoxin-producing cyanobacterium Phormidium are increasing in cobble-bed rivers worldwide. Studies to date have shown high spatial and temporal variability in anatoxin concentrations among mats. In this study we determined anatoxin quotas (toxins per cell) in field samples and compared these results to the conventionally-used concentrations (assessed per dry weight of mat). Three mats were selected at sites in two rivers and were sampled every 2–3 h for 24–26 h. The samples were lyophilized and ground to a fine homogenous powder. Two aliquots of known weights were analyzed for anatoxin congeners using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, or digital droplet PCR with Phormidium-specific anaC primers to measure absolute quantities of gene copies. Anatoxin concentrations in the mats varied 59- and 303-fold in the two rivers over the study periods. A similar pattern was observed among gene copies (53- and 2828-fold). When converted to anatoxin quotas there was markedly less variability (42- and 16-fold), but significantly higher anatoxin quotas were observed in mats from the second river (< 0.001, Student’s t-test). There were no obvious temporal patterns with high and low anatoxin concentrations or quotas measured at each sampling time and across the study period. These results demonstrate that variability in anatoxin concentrations among mats is primarily due to the abundance of toxic genotypes. No consistent modulation in anatoxin production was observed during the study, although significant differences in anatoxin quotas among rivers suggest that site-specific physiochemical or biological factors may influence anatoxin production.