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Mar. Drugs 2017, 15(10), 307; doi:10.3390/md15100307

The Abundance of Toxic Genotypes Is a Key Contributor to Anatoxin Variability in Phormidium-Dominated Benthic Mats

1
Cawthron Institute, Nelson 7010, New Zealand
2
Environmental Research Institute, University of Waikato, Hamilton 3216, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 August 2017 / Revised: 10 September 2017 / Accepted: 4 October 2017 / Published: 11 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Algal Toxins II, 2017)
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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 (p < 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: benthic cyanobacteria; cobble-bed rivers; cyanotoxins; digital droplet PCR; liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry benthic cyanobacteria; cobble-bed rivers; cyanotoxins; digital droplet PCR; liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wood, S.A.; Puddick, J. The Abundance of Toxic Genotypes Is a Key Contributor to Anatoxin Variability in Phormidium-Dominated Benthic Mats. Mar. Drugs 2017, 15, 307.

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