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Abstract

A bioassay for the detection of neuro- and hepatotoxins of cyanobacteria was developed. Larvae of a small shrimp, Artemia salina, were used as the test organism. Two pure toxins, 44 natural bloom samples, and 29 laboratory strains of cyanobacteria were studied. The toxicity of the samples had earlier been tested by mouse bioassay and in most cases by chemical analysis of the toxins. Moderate and high concentrations of toxins in bloom samples can be reliably detected by the Artemia salina method. Out of 29 toxic bloom samples, 4 were found nontoxic to Artemia. According to mouse bioassay, the toxicity of these samples was very low. The pure laboratory-grown strains contained some compounds that were toxic to A. salina but nontoxic to mouse. Because of these compounds, 1 out of 15 nontoxic bloom samples was erroneously analyzed to be toxic. EC50 for hepatotoxin desmethyl 7-microcystin-RR was 5.0 μ/mL. Pure anatoxin-a-hydrochloride was not toxic to larvae, but when added to nontoxic cyanobacterial samples, anatoxin-a was toxic.