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J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3(2), 154-174; doi:10.3390/jmse3020154

Mitigating Fish-Killing Prymnesium parvum Algal Blooms in Aquaculture Ponds with Clay: The Importance of pH and Clay Type

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
Oceanographic Institute, University of São Paulo, Praça do Oceanográfico 191, São Paulo, SP 05508-120, Brazil
Box 39346, Winnellie, Northern Territory 0821, Australia
Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science (ACROSS), School of Physical Sciences, University of Tasmania, Hobart 7001, Australia
Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Sciences, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA
Southeast Sea Fisheries Research Institute, National Fisheries Research & Development Institute (NFRDI), Tongyeong 650-943, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ho Kin Chung
Received: 27 February 2015 / Accepted: 10 April 2015 / Published: 15 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advance in Red Tide Research)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [973 KB, uploaded 15 April 2015]   |  


Clay minerals have previously been used to mitigate algal blooms because of their ability to flocculate algal cells or remove nutrients, but also offer considerable potential to remove ichthyotoxins. When a barramundi farm in tropical Australia suffered substantial fish mortalities due to a bloom of the ichthyotoxic haptophyte Prymnesium parvum, the farm manager decided to manipulate pond water N:P ratios through removal of phosphorus by the addition of lanthanum-modified bentonite clay (Phoslock™) to successfully mitigate ichthyotoxic effects. We conducted Prymnesium culture experiments under a range of N:P ratios, screening 14 different clays (two zeolites, four kaolins, six bentonites and two types of Korean loess) at pH 7 and 9 for cell flocculation and removal of ichthyotoxicity assessed with the RTgill-W1 cell line assay. Application of Phoslock™ to cultures grown at different N:P effectively removed 60%–100% of water-soluble toxicity of live Prymnesium (dependent on nutritional status). While most clays efficiently flocculated Prymnesium cells (≥80% removal), cell removal proved a poor predictor of ichthyotoxin adsorption. Extensive clay screening revealed that at elevated pH, as commonly associated with dense algal blooms, most clays either exacerbated ichthyotoxicity or exhibited significantly reduced toxin adsorption. Interpretation of changes in clay zeta potential at pH 7 and 9 provided valuable insight into clay/ichthyotoxin interactions, yet further research is required to completely understand the adsorption mechanisms. Bentonite-type clays proved best suited for ichthyotoxin removal purposes (100% removal at ecologically relevant pH 9) and offer great potential for on-farm emergency response. View Full-Text
Keywords: Prymnesium parvum; mitigation; clay; pH; ichthyotoxicity; gill cell line assay; RTgill-W1; zeta potential Prymnesium parvum; mitigation; clay; pH; ichthyotoxicity; gill cell line assay; RTgill-W1; zeta potential

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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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Seger, A.; Dorantes-Aranda, J.J.; Müller, M.N.; Body, A.; Peristyy, A.; Place, A.R.; Park, T.G.; Hallegraeff, G. Mitigating Fish-Killing Prymnesium parvum Algal Blooms in Aquaculture Ponds with Clay: The Importance of pH and Clay Type. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3, 154-174.

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