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Toxins 2015, 7(1), 66-80; doi:10.3390/toxins7010066

Effects of Natural Flavonoids on Photosynthetic Activity and Cell Integrity in Microcystis aeruginosa

College of Environmental & Resource Science (CERS), Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, Zhejiang, China
Ocean College, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, Zhejiang, China
Aquatic Ecology and Ecosystem Studies, M015, School of Civil, Environmental Systems and Mining Engineering, the University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Heather Roche
Received: 2 December 2014 / Accepted: 31 December 2014 / Published: 9 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Marine and Freshwater Toxins)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1081 KB, uploaded 9 January 2015]   |  


Flavonoids are natural polyphenolic compounds produced by many aquatic plants and released in their environments. In this study, the effects of several aquatic flavonoids on cyanobacterial Microcystis aeruginosa, especially in relation to the cell growth, photosynthetic activity, cell morphology, and cell membrane integrity, were investigated. Significant growth inhibition was observed when the cyanobacteria were exposed to three flavonoids, namely, 5,4'-dihydroxyflavone (DHF), apigenin, and luteolin. Luteolin reduced the effective quantum yield, photosynthetic efficiency, and maximal electron transport rate by 70%, 59% and 44%, respectively, whereas 5,4'-DHF and apigenin slightly affected these parameters, which implies that luteolin disrupts the photosynthetic system. Moreover, 5,4'-DHF and apigenin compromised the membrane integrity, and induced membrane depolarization in 52% and 38%, and permeabilization in 30% and 44% of the cells, respectively. The 5,4'-DHF and apigenin showed more pronounced effects on M. aeruginosa morphology and membrane integrity, compared to the luteolin. These results suggest that flavonoids could have significant effects on growth and physiological functions in cyanobacterial species. View Full-Text
Keywords: flavonoid; cyanobacteria; pulse-amplitude modulation; flow cytometry; photosynthesis flavonoid; cyanobacteria; pulse-amplitude modulation; flow cytometry; photosynthesis

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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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Huang, H.; Xiao, X.; Ghadouani, A.; Wu, J.; Nie, Z.; Peng, C.; Xu, X.; Shi, J. Effects of Natural Flavonoids on Photosynthetic Activity and Cell Integrity in Microcystis aeruginosa. Toxins 2015, 7, 66-80.

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