Special Issue "Selected Papers from the 11th International Conference on Toxic Cyanobacteria"

A special issue of Toxins (ISSN 2072-6651). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine and Freshwater Toxins".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Dariusz Dziga
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology,Jagiellonian University, Gronostajowa 7, 30-387 Kraków, Poland
Interests: toxic cyanobacteria; cyanotoxin biodegradation; cyanophages; physiology of cyanobacteria
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The International Conference on Toxic Cyanobacteria is a periodic summit of an international community focusing on the study of cyanotoxins and toxic cyanobacteria. The next ICTC 11 will be held in Kraków, Poland, 5–10 May, 2019.

The Local Organizing Committee agreed with Toxins to call for a Special Issue related to the research presented during ICTC 11. The submitted articles should contain recent and most important findings discussed during the conference including: the occurrence of toxic/invasive cyanobacteria in the context of climate changes; ecology of cyanobacteria with special emphasis on abiotic and biotic factors which regulate their growth and/or toxin production; physiological function, environmental significance and biotechnological application of secondary cyanometabolites; physiology and molecular biology of cyanobacteria; toxicity and harmful effects; risk identification and water management.

Additional links to the conference which you may find useful: http://ictc11.org/special-issues/

On behalf of the Local Organizing Committee  

Dr. Dariusz Dziga
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Toxins is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Importance of Allelopathic Picocyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. on the Abundance, Biomass Formation, and Structure of Phytoplankton Assemblages in Three Freshwater Lakes
Toxins 2020, 12(4), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12040259 - 16 Apr 2020
Abstract
The contribution of picocyanobacteria to summer phytoplankton blooms, accompanied by an ecological crisis, is a new phenomenon in Europe. This issue requires careful investigation. We studied allelopathic activity of freshwater picocyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. on phytoplankton assemblages from three freshwater lakes. In this study, [...] Read more.
The contribution of picocyanobacteria to summer phytoplankton blooms, accompanied by an ecological crisis, is a new phenomenon in Europe. This issue requires careful investigation. We studied allelopathic activity of freshwater picocyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. on phytoplankton assemblages from three freshwater lakes. In this study, the allelopathic activity of the Synechococcus sp. on the total abundance, biomass, as well as structure of the phytoplankton assemblages were investigated. Our results indicated that addition of exudates obtained from Synechococcus sp. affected the number of cells and biomass of the phytoplankton communities; the degree of inhibition or stimulation was different for each species, causing a change in the phytoplankton abundance and dominance during the experiment. We observed that some group of organisms (especially cyanobacteria from the genus Aphanothece, Limnothrix, Microcystis, and Synechococcus) showed tolerance for allelopathic compounds produced and released by Synechococcus sp. It is also worth noting that in some samples, Bacillariophyceae (e.g., Amphora pediculus, Navicula pygmaea, and Nitzschia paleacea) were completely eliminated in the experimental treatments, while present in the controls. This work demonstrated that the allelopathic activity exhibited by the Synechococcus sp. is probably one of the major competitive strategies affecting some of the coexisting phytoplankton species in freshwater ecosystems. To our best knowledge this is the first report of the allelopathic activity of Synechococcus sp. in the freshwater reservoirs, and one of the few published works showing allelopathic properties of freshwater picocyanobacteria on coexisting phytoplankton species. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Blooms of Toxic Cyanobacterium Nodularia spumigena in Norwegian Fjords During Holocene Warm Periods
Toxins 2020, 12(4), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12040257 - 15 Apr 2020
Abstract
In paleoecological studies, molecular markers are being used increasingly often to reconstruct community structures, environmental conditions and ecosystem changes. In this work, nodularin, anabaenopeptins and selected DNA sequences were applied as Nodularia spumigena markers to reconstruct the history of the cyanobacterium in the [...] Read more.
In paleoecological studies, molecular markers are being used increasingly often to reconstruct community structures, environmental conditions and ecosystem changes. In this work, nodularin, anabaenopeptins and selected DNA sequences were applied as Nodularia spumigena markers to reconstruct the history of the cyanobacterium in the Norwegian fjords. For the purpose of this study, three sediment cores collected in Oslofjorden, Trondheimsfjorden and Balsfjorden were analyzed. The lack of nodularin in most recent sediments is consistent with the fact that only one report on the sporadic occurrence and low amounts of the cyanobacterium in Norwegian Fjords in 1976 has been published. However, analyses of species-specific chemical markers in deep sediments showed that thousands of years ago, N. spumigena constituted an important component of the phytoplankton community. The content of the markers in the cores indicated that the biomass of the cyanobacterium increased during the warmer Holocene periods. The analyses of genetic markers were less conclusive; they showed the occurrence of microcystin/nodularin producing cyanobacteria of Nostocales order, but they did not allow for the identification of the organisms at a species level. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Limited Microcystin, Anatoxin and Cylindrospermopsin Production by Cyanobacteria from Microbial Mats in Cold Deserts
Toxins 2020, 12(4), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12040244 - 11 Apr 2020
Abstract
Toxic metabolites are produced by many cyanobacterial species. There are limited data on toxigenic benthic, mat-forming cyanobacteria, and information on toxic cyanobacteria from Central Asia is even more scarce. In the present study, we examined cyanobacterial diversity and community structure, the presence of [...] Read more.
Toxic metabolites are produced by many cyanobacterial species. There are limited data on toxigenic benthic, mat-forming cyanobacteria, and information on toxic cyanobacteria from Central Asia is even more scarce. In the present study, we examined cyanobacterial diversity and community structure, the presence of genes involved in toxin production and the occurrence of cyanotoxins in cyanobacterial mats from small water bodies in a cold high-mountain desert of Eastern Pamir. Diversity was explored using amplicon-based sequencing targeting the V3-V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene, toxin potential using PCR-based methods (mcy, nda, ana, sxt), and toxins by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Molecular identification of cyanobacteria showed a high similarity of abundant taxa to Nostoc PCC-73102, Nostoc PCC-7524, Nodularia PCC-935 and Leptolyngbya CYN68. The PCRs revealed the presence of mcyE and/or ndaF genes in 11 samples and mcyD in six. The partial sequences of the mcyE gene showed high sequence similarity to Nostoc, Planktothrix and uncultured cyanobacteria. LC-MS/MS analysis identified six microcystin congeners in two samples and unknown peptides in one. These results suggest that, in this extreme environment, cyanobacteria do not commonly produce microcystins, anatoxins and cylindrospermopsins, despite the high diversity and widespread occurrence of potentially toxic taxa. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Investigation of In Vitro Endocrine Activities of Microcystis and Planktothrix Cyanobacterial Strains
Toxins 2020, 12(4), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12040228 - 04 Apr 2020
Abstract
Cyanobacteria are cosmopolitan photosynthetic prokaryotes that can form dense accumulations in aquatic environments. They are able to produce many bioactive metabolites, some of which are potentially endocrine disrupting compounds, i.e., compounds that interfere with the hormonal systems of animals and humans. Endocrine disruptors [...] Read more.
Cyanobacteria are cosmopolitan photosynthetic prokaryotes that can form dense accumulations in aquatic environments. They are able to produce many bioactive metabolites, some of which are potentially endocrine disrupting compounds, i.e., compounds that interfere with the hormonal systems of animals and humans. Endocrine disruptors represent potential risks to both environmental and human health, making them a global challenge. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential endocrine disrupting activities with emphasis on estrogenic effects of extracts from cultures of Microcystis or Planktothrix species. We also assessed the possible role of microcystins, some of the most studied cyanobacterial toxins, and thus included both microcystin-producing and non-producing strains. Extracts from 26 cyanobacterial cultures were initially screened in estrogen-, androgen-, and glucocorticoid-responsive reporter-gene assays (RGAs) in order to identify endocrine disruption at the level of nuclear receptor transcriptional activity. Extracts from selected strains were tested repeatedly in the estrogen-responsive RGAs, but the observed estrogen agonist and antagonist activity was minor and similar to that of the cyanobacteria growth medium control. We thus focused on another, non-receptor mediated mechanism of action, and studied the 17β-estradiol (natural estrogen hormone) biotransformation in human liver microsomes in the presence or absence of microcystin-LR (MC-LR), or an extract from the MC-LR producing M. aeruginosa PCC7806 strain. Our results show a modulating effect on the estradiol biotransformation. Thus, while 2-hydroxylation was significantly decreased following co-incubation of 17β-estradiol with MC-LR or M. aeruginosa PCC7806 extract, the relative concentration of estrone was increased. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Plastics in Cyanobacterial Blooms—Genotoxic Effects of Binary Mixtures of Cylindrospermopsin and Bisphenols in HepG2 Cells
Toxins 2020, 12(4), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12040219 - 31 Mar 2020
Abstract
Ever-expanding environmental pollution is causing a rise in cyanobacterial blooms and the accumulation of plastics in water bodies. Consequently, exposure to mixtures of cyanotoxins and plastic-related contaminants such as bisphenols (BPs) is of increasing concern. The present study describes genotoxic effects induced by [...] Read more.
Ever-expanding environmental pollution is causing a rise in cyanobacterial blooms and the accumulation of plastics in water bodies. Consequently, exposure to mixtures of cyanotoxins and plastic-related contaminants such as bisphenols (BPs) is of increasing concern. The present study describes genotoxic effects induced by co-exposure to one of the emerging cyanotoxins—cylindrospermopsin (CYN)—(0.5 µg/mL) and BPs (bisphenol A (BPA), S (BPS), and F (BPF); (10 µg/mL)) in HepG2 cells after 24 and 72 h of exposure. The cytotoxicity was evaluated with an MTS assay and genotoxicity was assessed through the measurement of the induction of DNA double strand breaks (DSB) with the γH2AX assay. The deregulation of selected genes (xenobiotic metabolic enzyme genes, DNA damage, and oxidative response genes) was assessed using qPCR. The results showed a moderate reduction of cell viability and induction of DSBs after 72 h of exposure to the CYN/BPs mixtures and CYN alone. None of the BPs alone reduced cell viability or induced DSBs. No significant difference was observed between CYN and CYN/BPs exposed cells, except with CYN/BPA, where the antagonistic activity of BPA against CYN was indicated. The deregulation of some of the tested genes (CYP1A1, CDKN1A, GADD45A, and GCLC) was more pronounced after exposure to the CYN/BPs mixtures compared to single compounds, suggesting additive or synergistic action. The present study confirms the importance of co-exposure studies, as our results show pollutant mixtures to induce effects different from those confirmed for single compounds. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Microcystin-LR Does Not Alter Cell Survival and Intracellular Signaling in Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells
Toxins 2020, 12(3), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12030165 - 07 Mar 2020
Abstract
Changes in ecological and environmental factors lead to an increased occurrence of cyanobacterial water blooms, while secondary metabolites-producing cyanobacteria pose a threat to both environmental and human health. Apart from oral and dermal exposure, humans may be exposed via inhalation and/or swallowing of [...] Read more.
Changes in ecological and environmental factors lead to an increased occurrence of cyanobacterial water blooms, while secondary metabolites-producing cyanobacteria pose a threat to both environmental and human health. Apart from oral and dermal exposure, humans may be exposed via inhalation and/or swallowing of contaminated water and aerosols. Although many studies deal with liver toxicity, less information about the effects in the respiratory system is available. We investigated the effects of a prevalent cyanotoxin, microcystin-LR (MC-LR), using respiratory system-relevant human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cells. The expression of specific organic-anion-transporting polypeptides was evaluated, and the western blot analysis revealed the formation and accumulation of MC-LR protein adducts in exposed cells. However, MC-LR up to 20 μM neither caused significant cytotoxic effects according to multiple viability endpoints after 48-h exposure, nor reduced impedance (cell layer integrity) over 96 h. Time-dependent increase of putative MC-LR adducts with protein phosphatases was not associated with activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases ERK1/2 and p38 during 48-h exposure in HBE cells. Future studies addressing human health risks associated with inhalation of toxic cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins should focus on complex environmental samples of cyanobacterial blooms and alterations of additional non-cytotoxic endpoints while adopting more advanced in vitro models. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genomic and Metabolomic Analyses of Natural Products in Nodularia spumigena Isolated from a Shrimp Culture Pond
Toxins 2020, 12(3), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12030141 - 25 Feb 2020
Abstract
The bloom-forming cyanobacterium Nodularia spumigena CENA596 encodes the biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) of the known natural products nodularins, spumigins, anabaenopeptins/namalides, aeruginosins, mycosporin-like amino acids, and scytonemin, along with the terpenoid geosmin. Targeted metabolomics confirmed the production of these metabolic compounds, except for the [...] Read more.
The bloom-forming cyanobacterium Nodularia spumigena CENA596 encodes the biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) of the known natural products nodularins, spumigins, anabaenopeptins/namalides, aeruginosins, mycosporin-like amino acids, and scytonemin, along with the terpenoid geosmin. Targeted metabolomics confirmed the production of these metabolic compounds, except for the alkaloid scytonemin. Genome mining of N. spumigena CENA596 and its three closely related Nodularia strains—two planktonic strains from the Baltic Sea and one benthic strain from Japanese marine sediment—revealed that the number of BGCs in planktonic strains was higher than in benthic one. Geosmin—a volatile compound with unpleasant taste and odor—was unique to the Brazilian strain CENA596. Automatic annotation of the genomes using subsystems technology revealed a related number of coding sequences and functional roles. Orthologs from the Nodularia genomes are involved in the primary and secondary metabolisms. Phylogenomic analysis of N. spumigena CENA596 based on 120 conserved protein sequences positioned this strain close to the Baltic Nodularia. Phylogeny of the 16S rRNA genes separated the Brazilian CENA596 strain from those of the Baltic Sea, despite their high sequence identities (99% identity, 100% coverage). The comparative analysis among planktic Nodularia strains showed that their genomes were considerably similar despite their geographically distant origin. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Bioprospecting Sponge-Associated Marine Cyanobacteria to Produce Bioactive Compounds
Toxins 2020, 12(2), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12020073 - 23 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Marine cyanobacteria are considered a prolific source of bioactive natural products with a range of biotechnological and pharmacological applications. However, data on the production of natural compounds from sponge-associated cyanobacteria are scarce. This study aimed to assess the potential of sponge-associated cyanobacteria strains [...] Read more.
Marine cyanobacteria are considered a prolific source of bioactive natural products with a range of biotechnological and pharmacological applications. However, data on the production of natural compounds from sponge-associated cyanobacteria are scarce. This study aimed to assess the potential of sponge-associated cyanobacteria strains representing different taxonomic groups for the production of bioactive compounds and the biological activity of their extracts. Phylogenetic analysis of sponge-associated cyanobacteria and screening for the presence of genes encoding non-ribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) and polyketide synthases (PKSs) were performed. Methanol extracts of the sponge-associated strains were analyzed for cyanotoxin production and tested for antioxidant activity and cytotoxic activity against several human cancer cell lines and pathogenic bacteria. PKS were detected in all sponge-associated strains examined, indicating the metabolic potential of the isolates. PKS genes were more ubiquitous than NRPS genes. Cyanotoxins (i.e., cylindrospermopsin, anatoxin-a, nodularin, and microcystins) were not detected in any of the sponge-associated cyanobacterial strains. Strains belonging to Leptothoe, Pseudanabaena, and Synechococcus were found to have activity mainly against Staphylococcus aureus. In addition, sponge-associated Leptothoe strains (TAU-MAC 0915, 1015, 1115, and 1215) were found to be highly cytotoxic and in most cases more effective against human cancer cell lines than against normal cells. Extracts with the most promising bioactivity deserve further investigation in order to isolate and identify the bioactive molecule(s). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Isolation and Characterization of Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii Strains from Finished Drinking Water
Toxins 2020, 12(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12010040 - 08 Jan 2020
Abstract
In the summer of 2015, an intense cyanobacterial bloom producing geosmin/2-methylisoborneol (MIB) occurred in the Roxo freshwater reservoir in Alentejo, Portugal. The drinking water supplied from the Roxo water treatment plant (WTP) exhibited an unpleasant odor/taste and a significant cyanobacteria density was detected [...] Read more.
In the summer of 2015, an intense cyanobacterial bloom producing geosmin/2-methylisoborneol (MIB) occurred in the Roxo freshwater reservoir in Alentejo, Portugal. The drinking water supplied from the Roxo water treatment plant (WTP) exhibited an unpleasant odor/taste and a significant cyanobacteria density was detected in the finished water at the exit of the WTP. Cyanobacteria were not evaluated downstream of the WTP, namely, at the city reservoir. The aim of this work was to isolate and characterize viable cyanobacteria present in finished water (exit of the WTP and city reservoir) that withstand conventional water treatment. Treated water samples collected at both sites were inoculated in Z8 culture medium to provide the conditions for putative cyanobacterial growth. After 30 days, filamentous cyanobacteria were observed in cultures inoculated with samples from the exit point of the WTP. Viable trichomes were isolated and identified as Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii by morphometric and molecular analysis. None of the isolates were cylindrospermopsin/microcystin producers, as confirmed by ELISA and amplification of corresponding genes (PS/PKS and mcyA-cd/mcyAB/mcyB). ELISA results were positive for saxitoxin, but saxitoxin and derivatives were not detected by liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection (LC-FLD), nor were their related genes (sxtA/sxtA4/sxtB/sxtM/sxtPer/sxtI). To our knowledge, this is the first report on the establishment of cultures of C. raciborskii that resisted water treatment processes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Morphological and Molecular Identification of Microcystin-Producing Cyanobacteria in Nine Shallow Bulgarian Water Bodies
Toxins 2020, 12(1), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12010039 - 08 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The paper presents results from the first application of polyphasic approach in studies of field samples from Bulgaria. This approach, which combined the conventional light microscopy (LM) and molecular-genetic methods (based on PCR amplified fragments of microcystin synthetase gene mcyE), revealed that [...] Read more.
The paper presents results from the first application of polyphasic approach in studies of field samples from Bulgaria. This approach, which combined the conventional light microscopy (LM) and molecular-genetic methods (based on PCR amplified fragments of microcystin synthetase gene mcyE), revealed that almost all microcystin-producers in the studied eutrophic waterbodies belong to the genus Microcystis. During the molecular identification of toxin-producing strains by use of HEPF × HEPR pair of primers, we obtained 57 sequences, 56 of which formed 28 strains of Microcystis, spread in six clusters of the phylogenetic tree. By LM, seven Microcystis morphospecies were identified (M. aeruginosa, M. botrys, M. flos-aquae, M. natans, M. novacekii, M. smithii, and M. wesenbergii). They showed significant morphological variability and contributed from <1% to 98% to the total biomass. All data support the earlier opinions that taxonomic revision of Microcystis is needed, proved the presence of toxigenic strains in M. aeruginosa and M. wesenbergii, and suppose their existence in M. natans. Our results demonstrated also that genetic sequencing, and the use of HEPF × HEPR pair in particular, can efficiently serve in water quality monitoring for identifying the potential risk from microcystins, even in cases of low amounts of Microcystis in the water. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Suppressing Cyanobacteria with Hydrogen Peroxide Is More Effective at High Light Intensities
Toxins 2020, 12(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12010018 - 31 Dec 2019
Abstract
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) can be used as an emergency method to selectively suppress cyanobacterial blooms in lakes and drinking water reservoirs. However, it is largely unknown how environmental parameters alter the effectiveness of H2O2 treatments. In [...] Read more.
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) can be used as an emergency method to selectively suppress cyanobacterial blooms in lakes and drinking water reservoirs. However, it is largely unknown how environmental parameters alter the effectiveness of H2O2 treatments. In this study, the toxic cyanobacterial strain Microcystis aeruginosa PCC 7806 was treated with a range of H2O2 concentrations (0 to 10 mg/L), while being exposed to different light intensities and light colors. H2O2 treatments caused a stronger decline of the photosynthetic yield in high light than in low light or in the dark, and also a stronger decline in orange than in blue light. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that H2O2 causes major damage at photosystem II (PSII) and interferes with PSII repair, which makes cells more sensitive to photoinhibition. Furthermore, H2O2 treatments caused a decrease in cell size and an increase in extracellular microcystin concentrations, indicative of leakage from disrupted cells. Our findings imply that even low H2O2 concentrations of 1–2 mg/L can be highly effective, if cyanobacteria are exposed to high light intensities. We therefore recommend performing lake treatments during sunny days, when a low H2O2 dosage is sufficient to suppress cyanobacteria, and may help to minimize impacts on non-target organisms. Full article
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