PRODUCTION OF PARALYTIC SHELLFISH TOXINS BY APHANIZOMENON SP. LMECYA 31 (CYANOBACTERIA)1

Authors


Author for correspondence: e-mail paulo.pereira@insa.min-saude.pt.

Abstract

We examined intracellular and extracellular paralytic shellfish toxins (PST) in a strain of Aphanizomenon sp. (LMECYA31) isolated from a Portuguese freshwater reservoir throughout the growth cycle and under different conditions affected by temperature and nitrate and phosphate availability. PST concentrations and compositions were greatly influenced by cell density, growth stage, and temperature and nutrients conditions. On a per-cell basis results showed (1) the enhancement of PST cell quota after the end of exponential growth phase in nutrient replete batch cultures, (2) the absence of a PST increment at late growth stages under phosphate limitation, (3) a rise in PST maximum cell quota under nitrate depletion, and (4) the enhancement of toxin production at higher temperatures. The relative proportion of the four toxins detected, neoSTX, dcSTX, STX and GTX5, also changed within and between culture settings. While growing under phosphate rich media cells produced mainly GTX5 and neoSTX, whereas under phosphate limitation the proportion of STX and dcSTX increased substantially with culture age. Large amounts of extracellular toxins were found in the culture medium, increasing during culture time. Extracellular toxin composition in each culture was fairly constant and always similar to the intracellular composition found at late stages of growth. This further supported other research that indicates that PSTs are released to the water through cell lysis, and a significant concentration of PST may be expected to remain in the water upon the collapse of a toxic bloom or after cells removal by water treatment.

Ancillary