Cyanotoxin production and phylogeny of benthic cyanobacterial strains isolated from the northeast of Brazil

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Borges, H. L.F.
Branco, L. H.Z. [UNESP]
Martins, M. D. [UNESP]
Lima, C. S.
Barbosa, P. T.
Lira, G. A.S.T.
Bittencourt-Oliveira, M. C.
Molica, R. J.R.

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Most of the knowledge about cyanobacteria toxin production is traditionally associated with planktonic cyanobacterial blooms. However, some studies have been showing that benthic cyanobacteria can produce cyanotoxins. According to this, we aimed to evaluate the production of microcystins and saxitoxins in benthic cyanobacteria isolated from aquatic ecosystems in the Northeast of Brazil and to use a polyphasic approach for their identification. Forty-five clonal strains were isolated from rivers and water supply reservoirs, and identified using morphological and molecular phylogenetic characteristics. In order to evaluate the toxins production, the strains were screened for genes involved in the biosynthesis of microcystins and saxitoxins, positive results were confirmed and cyanotoxins quantified using HPLC. Eight species were identified belonging to the Phormidiaceae, Pseudanabaenaceae and Nostocaceae families. This is the first study in Brazil that shows that strains from the Geitlerinema genus correspond to at least three phylogenetic lineages, which possibly correspond to three distinct species to be subsequently reclassified. The strains that showed one of the genes involved in the cyanotoxins production were analyzed by HPLC and Geitlerinema amphibium, Geitlerinema lemmermannii, Cylindrospermum stagnale and Phormidium uncinatum were identified as producing one or more saxitoxins variants. Thus, this is the first report of saxitoxins production for those first three species and the first report in Brazil for P. uncinatum.



Benthic cyanobacteria, Microcystin, Phylogeny, Saxitoxins, Semi-arid

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Harmful Algae, v. 43, p. 46-57.