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Open AccessArticle

Toxic Cyanobacteria in Svalbard: Chemical Diversity of Microcystins Detected Using a Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry Precursor Ion Screening Method

Center for Applied Geosciences, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Hölderlinstr. 12, 72074 Tübingen, Germany
BCCM/ULC, University of Liege, In-Bios Centre for Protein Engineering, B6, 4000 Liege, Belgium
Cawthron Institute, Halifax Street East, Nelson 7010, New Zealand
Structural and Computational Biology, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Meyerhofstrasse 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Davie, FL 33314, USA
Department of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of Northumbria at Newcastle, Newcastle NE1 8ST, UK
British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK
Human and Environmental Toxicology, University of Konstanz, 78457 Konstanz, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2018, 10(4), 147;
Received: 9 February 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 29 March 2018 / Published: 3 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins: New Advances and Future Challenges)
Cyanobacteria synthesize a large variety of secondary metabolites including toxins. Microcystins (MCs) with hepato- and neurotoxic potential are well studied in bloom-forming planktonic species of temperate and tropical regions. Cyanobacterial biofilms thriving in the polar regions have recently emerged as a rich source for cyanobacterial secondary metabolites including previously undescribed congeners of microcystin. However, detection and detailed identification of these compounds is difficult due to unusual sample matrices and structural congeners produced. We here report a time-efficient liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) precursor ion screening method that facilitates microcystin detection and identification. We applied this method to detect six different MC congeners in 8 out of 26 microbial mat samples of the Svalbard Archipelago in the Arctic. The congeners, of which [Asp3, ADMAdda5, Dhb7] MC-LR was most abundant, were similar to those reported in other polar habitats. Microcystins were also determined using an Adda-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (Adda-ELISA). Nostoc sp. was identified as a putative toxin producer using molecular methods that targeted 16S rRNA genes and genes involved in microcystin production. The mcy genes detected showed highest similarities to other Arctic or Antarctic sequences. The LC-MS precursor ion screening method could be useful for microcystin detection in unusual matrices such as benthic biofilms or lichen. View Full-Text
Keywords: arctic; benthic mats; cyanotoxins; ELISA; 16S rRNA gene arctic; benthic mats; cyanotoxins; ELISA; 16S rRNA gene
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Kleinteich, J.; Puddick, J.; Wood, S.A.; Hildebrand, F.; Laughinghouse IV, H.D.; Pearce, D.A.; Dietrich, D.R.; Wilmotte, A. Toxic Cyanobacteria in Svalbard: Chemical Diversity of Microcystins Detected Using a Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry Precursor Ion Screening Method. Toxins 2018, 10, 147.

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