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Interspecies interactions between Microcystis aeruginosa PCC 7806 and Desmodesmus subspicatus SAG 86.81 in a co-cultivation system at various growth phases

Omidi, Azam; Esterhuizen-Londt, Maranda; Pflugmacher, Stephan

In lakes, cyanobacterial blooms are frequently associated with green algae and dominate the phytoplankton community in successive waves. In the present study, the interactions between Microcystis aeruginosa PCC 7806 and Desmodesmus subspicatus were studied to clarify the probable ecological significance of algal secondary metabolites; focusing on the role of cyanotoxin ‘microcystin-LR’ (MC-LR). A dialysis co-cultivation technique was applied where M. aeruginosa was grown inside and D. subspicatus was cultured outside of the dialysis tubing. The concentration of the intra- and extracellular MC-LR and the growth of two species were measured at different time points over a period of one month. Additionally, the growth of the two species in the culture filtrate of one another and the effect of the purified MC-LR on the growth of the green alga were studied. The results indicated that the co-existing species could affect each other depending on the growth phases. Despite the early dominance of D. subspicatus during the logarithmic phase, M. aeruginosa suppressed the growth of the green alga at the stationary phase, which coincided with increased MC production and release. However, the inhibitory effects of Microcystis might be related to its other extracellular metabolites rather than, or possibly in addition to, MC.
Published in: Environment international, 10.1016/j.envint.2019.105052, Elsevier