Special Issue "Cyanotoxins in Bloom: Ever-Increasing Occurrence and Global Distribution of Freshwater Cyanotoxins from Planktic and Benthic 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 (31 March 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Triantafyllos Kaloudis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Athens Water Supply & Sewerage Company, EYDAP SA
Interests: water quality; water chemistry; advanced water treatment
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Anastasia Hiskia
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
National Center for Scientific Research “DEMOKRITOS”, Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Partiarchi Grigoriou E & Neapoleos 27 str., 15341, Agia Paraskevi, Athens, Greece
Interests: advanced oxidation processes; reactive oxygen species; environmental analytical chemistry; emerging pollutants; cyanotoxins; transformation products; cyanobacterial bioactive metabolites
Dr. Theodoros Triantis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
National Center for Scientific Research “DEMOKRITOS”, Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Partiarchi Grigoriou E & Neapoleos 27 str., 15341, Agia Paraskevi, Athens, Greece
Interests: advanced oxidation processes; environmental analytical chemistry; cyanotoxins; transformation/degradation products of cyanotoxins; bioactive metabolites

Special Issue Information

At present, cyanobacteria and their toxins (also known as cyanotoxins) constitute a major threat for freshwater resources worldwide. Cyanotoxin occurrence in water bodies around the globe is constantly increasing, whereas emerging, less studied or completely new variants and congeners of various chemical classes of cyanotoxins, as well as their degradation/transformation products are often detected. In addition to planctic cyanobacteria, benthic cyanobacteria, in many cases, appear to be important toxin producers, although far less studied and more difficult to manage and control. This Special Issue aims to highlight novel research results on the structural diversity of cyanotoxins from planktic and benthic cyanobacteria, as well as on their expanding global geographical spread in freshwaters. In particular, the Issue welcomes research papers on :

  • Novel and improved methods of sampling, extraction, detection, and quantitation of cyanotoxins, with an emphasis on multivariant/class methods (e.g., LC-MS based techniques, in vitro assays, sensors);
  • Structural characterization of new cyanotoxins using mass spectrometry and related techniques;
  • Global occurrence of cyanotoxins, with an emphasis on emerging (e.g., saxitoxins, anatoxin-a, cylindrospermopsin) or new classes of cyanotoxins (such as anabaenopeptins, microginins, etc.) as well as first reports of cyanotoxins on water bodies in less studied regions;
  • Tranformation/degradation products of cyanotoxins formed in the environment or during conventional and advanced methods of water treatment (e.g., biodegradation, chemical oxidation).;
  • Planktic/benthic cyanotoxin producers, biotic and/or abiotic environmental factors that affect cyanotoxin production;
  • Results of monitoring programs demonstrating temporal and spatial distribution of cyanotoxins in freshwater bodies.
Dr. Triantafyllos Kaloudis
Dr. Anastasia Hiskia
Dr. Theodoros Triantis
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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 2400 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.

Keywords

  • emerging cyanotoxins
  • structural characterization
  • analysis
  • monitoring
  • mass spectrometry
  • in vitro assays
  • transformation products
  • planktic and benthic cyanobacteria

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Cyanotoxin Screening in BACA Culture Collection: Identification of New Cylindrospermopsin Producing Cyanobacteria
Toxins 2021, 13(4), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13040258 - 03 Apr 2021
Viewed by 498
Abstract
Microcystins (MCs), Saxitoxins (STXs), and Cylindrospermopsins (CYNs) are some of the more well-known cyanotoxins. Taking into consideration the impacts of cyanotoxins, many studies have focused on the identification of unknown cyanotoxin(s)-producing strains. This study aimed to screen strains from the Azorean Bank of [...] Read more.
Microcystins (MCs), Saxitoxins (STXs), and Cylindrospermopsins (CYNs) are some of the more well-known cyanotoxins. Taking into consideration the impacts of cyanotoxins, many studies have focused on the identification of unknown cyanotoxin(s)-producing strains. This study aimed to screen strains from the Azorean Bank of Algae and Cyanobacteria (BACA) for MCs, STX, and CYN production. A total of 157 strains were searched for mcy, sxt, and cyr producing genes by PCR, toxin identification by ESI-LC-MS/MS, and cyanotoxin-producing strains morphological identification and confirmation by 16S rRNA phylogenetic analysis. Cyanotoxin-producing genes were amplified in 13 strains and four were confirmed as toxin producers by ESI-LC-MS/MS. As expected Aphanizomenon gracile BACA0041 was confirmed as an STX producer, with amplification of genes sxtA, sxtG, sxtH, and sxtI, and Microcystis aeruginosa BACA0148 as an MC-LR producer, with amplification of genes mcyC, mcyD, mcyE, and mcyG. Two nostocalean strains, BACA0025 and BACA0031, were positive for both cyrB and cyrC genes and ESI-LC-MS/MS confirmed CYN production. Although these strains morphologically resemble Sphaerospermopsis, the 16S rRNA phylogenetic analysis reveals that they probably belong to a new genus. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Potentially Toxic Planktic and Benthic Cyanobacteria in Slovenian Freshwater Bodies: Detection by Quantitative PCR
Toxins 2021, 13(2), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13020133 - 11 Feb 2021
Viewed by 447
Abstract
Due to increased frequency of cyanobacterial blooms and emerging evidence of cyanotoxicity in biofilm, reliable methods for early cyanotoxin threat detection are of major importance for protection of human, animal and environmental health. To complement the current methods of risk assessment, this study [...] Read more.
Due to increased frequency of cyanobacterial blooms and emerging evidence of cyanotoxicity in biofilm, reliable methods for early cyanotoxin threat detection are of major importance for protection of human, animal and environmental health. To complement the current methods of risk assessment, this study aimed to evaluate selected qPCR assays for detection of potentially toxic cyanobacteria in environmental samples. In the course of one year, 25 plankton and 23 biofilm samples were collected from 15 water bodies in Slovenia. Three different analyses were performed and compared to each other; qPCR targeting mcyE, cyrJ and sxtA genes involved in cyanotoxin production, LC-MS/MS quantifying microcystin, cylindrospermopsin and saxitoxin concentration, and microscopic analyses identifying potentially toxic cyanobacterial taxa. qPCR analyses detected potentially toxic Microcystis in 10 lake plankton samples, and potentially toxic Planktothrix cells in 12 lake plankton and one lake biofilm sample. A positive correlation was observed between numbers of mcyE gene copies and microcystin concentrations. Potential cylindrospermopsin- and saxitoxin-producers were detected in three and seven lake biofilm samples, respectively. The study demonstrated a potential for cyanotoxin production that was left undetected by traditional methods in both plankton and biofilm samples. Thus, the qPCR method could be useful in regular monitoring of water bodies to improve risk assessment and enable timely measures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Roles of Nutrient Limitation on Western Lake Erie CyanoHAB Toxin Production
Toxins 2021, 13(1), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13010047 - 09 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1592
Abstract
Cyanobacterial harmful algal bloom (CyanoHAB) proliferation is a global problem impacting ecosystem and human health. Western Lake Erie (WLE) typically endures two highly toxic CyanoHABs during summer: a Microcystis spp. bloom in Maumee Bay that extends throughout the western basin, and a Planktothrix [...] Read more.
Cyanobacterial harmful algal bloom (CyanoHAB) proliferation is a global problem impacting ecosystem and human health. Western Lake Erie (WLE) typically endures two highly toxic CyanoHABs during summer: a Microcystis spp. bloom in Maumee Bay that extends throughout the western basin, and a Planktothrix spp. bloom in Sandusky Bay. Recently, the USA and Canada agreed to a 40% phosphorus (P) load reduction to lessen the severity of the WLE blooms. To investigate phosphorus and nitrogen (N) limitation of biomass and toxin production in WLE CyanoHABs, we conducted in situ nutrient addition and 40% dilution microcosm bioassays in June and August 2019. During the June Sandusky Bay bloom, biomass production as well as hepatotoxic microcystin and neurotoxic anatoxin production were N and P co-limited with microcystin production becoming nutrient deplete under 40% dilution. During August, the Maumee Bay bloom produced microcystin under nutrient repletion with slight induced P limitation under 40% dilution, and the Sandusky Bay bloom produced anatoxin under N limitation in both dilution treatments. The results demonstrate the importance of nutrient limitation effects on microcystin and anatoxin production. To properly combat cyanotoxin and cyanobacterial biomass production in WLE, both N and P reduction efforts should be implemented in its watershed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mass Occurrence of Anatoxin-a- and Dihydroanatoxin-a-Producing Tychonema sp. in Mesotrophic Reservoir Mandichosee (River Lech, Germany) as a Cause of Neurotoxicosis in Dogs
Toxins 2020, 12(11), 726; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12110726 - 20 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 772
Abstract
In August 2019, three dogs died after bathing in or drinking from Mandichosee, a mesotrophic reservoir of the River Lech (Germany). The dogs showed symptoms of neurotoxic poisoning and intoxication with cyanotoxins was considered. Surface blooms were not visible at the time of [...] Read more.
In August 2019, three dogs died after bathing in or drinking from Mandichosee, a mesotrophic reservoir of the River Lech (Germany). The dogs showed symptoms of neurotoxic poisoning and intoxication with cyanotoxins was considered. Surface blooms were not visible at the time of the incidents. Benthic Tychonema sp., a potential anatoxin-a (ATX)-producing cyanobacterium, was detected in mats growing on the banks, as biofilm on macrophytes and later as aggregations floating on the lake surface. The dogs’ pathological examinations showed lung and liver lesions. ATX and dihydroanatoxin-a (dhATX) were detected by LC-MS/MS in the stomachs of two dogs and reached concentrations of 563 and 1207 µg/L, respectively. Anatoxins (sum of ATX and dhATX, ATXs) concentrations in field samples from Mandichosee ranged from 0.1 µg/L in the open water to 68,000 µg/L in samples containing a large amount of mat material. Other (neuro)toxic substances were not found. A molecular approach was used to detect toxin genes by PCR and to reveal the cyanobacterial community composition by sequencing. Upstream of Mandichosee, random samples were taken from other Lech reservoirs, uncovering Tychonema and ATXs at several sampling sites. Similar recent findings emphasize the importance of focusing on the investigation of benthic toxic cyanobacteria and applying appropriate monitoring strategies in the future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Is a Central Sediment Sample Sufficient? Exploring Spatial and Temporal Microbial Diversity in a Small Lake
Toxins 2020, 12(9), 580; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12090580 - 09 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1092
Abstract
(1) Background: Paleolimnological studies use sediment cores to explore long-term changes in lake ecology, including occurrences of harmful cyanobacterial blooms. Most studies are based on single cores, assuming this is representative of the whole lake, but data on small-scale spatial variability of microbial [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Paleolimnological studies use sediment cores to explore long-term changes in lake ecology, including occurrences of harmful cyanobacterial blooms. Most studies are based on single cores, assuming this is representative of the whole lake, but data on small-scale spatial variability of microbial communities in lake sediment are scarce. (2) Methods: Surface sediments (top 0.5 cm) from 12 sites (n = 36) and two sediment cores were collected in Lake Rotorua (New Zealand). Bacterial community (16S rRNA metabarcoding), Microcystis specific 16S rRNA, microcystin synthetase gene E (mcyE) and microcystins (MCs) were assessed. Radionuclide measurements (210Pb, 137Cs) were used to date sediments. (3) Results: Bacterial community, based on relative abundances, differed significantly between surface sediment sites (p < 0.001) but the majority of bacterial amplicon sequence variants (88.8%) were shared. Despite intense MC producing Microcystis blooms in the past, no Microcystis specific 16S rRNA, mcyE and MCs were found in surface sediments but occurred deeper in sediment cores (approximately 1950′s). 210Pb measurements showed a disturbed profile, similar to patterns previously observed, as a result of earthquakes. (4) Conclusions: A single sediment core can capture dominant microbial communities. Toxin producing Microcystis blooms are a recent phenomenon in Lake Rotorua. We posit that the absence of Microcystis from the surface sediments is a consequence of the Kaikoura earthquake two years prior to our sampling. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Insight into Unprecedented Diversity of Cyanopeptides in Eutrophic Ponds Using an MS/MS Networking Approach
Toxins 2020, 12(9), 561; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12090561 - 31 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1218
Abstract
Man-made shallow fishponds in the Czech Republic have been facing high eutrophication since the 1950s. Anthropogenic eutrophication and feeding of fish have strongly affected the physicochemical properties of water and its aquatic community composition, leading to harmful algal bloom formation. In our current [...] Read more.
Man-made shallow fishponds in the Czech Republic have been facing high eutrophication since the 1950s. Anthropogenic eutrophication and feeding of fish have strongly affected the physicochemical properties of water and its aquatic community composition, leading to harmful algal bloom formation. In our current study, we characterized the phytoplankton community across three eutrophic ponds to assess the phytoplankton dynamics during the vegetation season. We microscopically identified and quantified 29 cyanobacterial taxa comprising non-toxigenic and toxigenic species. Further, a detailed cyanopeptides (CNPs) profiling was performed using molecular networking analysis of liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) data coupled with a dereplication strategy. This MS networking approach, coupled with dereplication, on the online global natural product social networking (GNPS) web platform led us to putatively identify forty CNPs: fourteen anabaenopeptins, ten microcystins, five cyanopeptolins, six microginins, two cyanobactins, a dipeptide radiosumin, a cyclooctapeptide planktocyclin, and epidolastatin 12. We applied the binary logistic regression to estimate the CNPs producers by correlating the GNPS data with the species abundance. The usage of the GNPS web platform proved a valuable approach for the rapid and simultaneous detection of a large number of peptides and rapid risk assessments for harmful blooms. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cylindrospermopsin- and Deoxycylindrospermopsin-Producing Raphidiopsis raciborskii and Microcystin-Producing Microcystis spp. in Meiktila Lake, Myanmar
Toxins 2020, 12(4), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12040232 - 07 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1027
Abstract
Meiktila Lake is a shallow reservoir located close to Meiktila city in central Myanmar. Its water is used for irrigation, domestic purposes and drinking water. No detailed study of the presence of cyanobacteria and their potential toxin production has been conducted so far. [...] Read more.
Meiktila Lake is a shallow reservoir located close to Meiktila city in central Myanmar. Its water is used for irrigation, domestic purposes and drinking water. No detailed study of the presence of cyanobacteria and their potential toxin production has been conducted so far. To ascertain the cyanobacterial composition and presence of cyanobacterial toxins in Meiktila Lake, water samples were collected in March and November 2017 and investigated for physico-chemical and biological parameters. Phytoplankton composition and biomass determination revealed that most of the samples were dominated by the cyanobacterium Raphidiopsis raciborskii. In a polyphasic approach, seven isolated cyanobacterial strains were classified morphologically and phylogenetically as R. raciborskii, and Microcystis spp. and tested for microcystins (MCs), cylindrospermopsins (CYNs), saxitoxins and anatoxins by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC–MS). ELISA and LC–MS analyses confirmed CYNs in three of the five Raphidiopsis strains between 1.8 and 9.8 μg mg−1 fresh weight. Both Microcystis strains produced MCs, one strain 52 congeners and the other strain 20 congeners, including 22 previously unreported variants. Due to the presence of CYN- and MC-producing cyanobacteria, harmful effects on humans, domestic and wild animals cannot be excluded in Meiktila Lake. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Co-Occurrence of Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins with Other Environmental Health Hazards: Impacts and Implications
Toxins 2020, 12(10), 629; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins12100629 - 01 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1087
Abstract
Toxin-producing cyanobacteria in aquatic, terrestrial, and aerial environments can occur alongside a wide range of additional health hazards including biological agents and synthetic materials. Cases of intoxications involving cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins, with exposure to additional hazards, are discussed. Examples of the co-occurrence of [...] Read more.
Toxin-producing cyanobacteria in aquatic, terrestrial, and aerial environments can occur alongside a wide range of additional health hazards including biological agents and synthetic materials. Cases of intoxications involving cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins, with exposure to additional hazards, are discussed. Examples of the co-occurrence of cyanobacteria in such combinations are reviewed, including cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins plus algal toxins, microbial pathogens and fecal indicator bacteria, metals, pesticides, and microplastics. Toxicity assessments of cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins, and these additional agents, where investigated in bioassays and in defined combinations, are discussed and further research needs are identified. Full article
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