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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of light on the microcystin content of Microcystis strain PCC 7806.

Many cyanobacteria produce microcystins, hepatotoxic cyclic heptapeptides that can affect animals and humans. The effects of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) on microcystin production by Microcystis strain PCC 7806 were studied in continuous cultures. Microcystis strain PCC 7806 was grown under PAR intensities between 10 and 403 micro mol of photons m(-2) s(-1) on a light-dark rhythm of 12 h -12 h. The microcystin concentration per cell, per unit biovolume and protein, was estimated under steady-state and transient-state conditions and on a diurnal timescale. The cellular microcystin content varied between 34.5 and 81.4 fg cell(-1) and was significantly positively correlated with growth rate under PAR-limited growth but not under PAR-saturated growth. Microcystin production and PAR showed a significant positive correlation under PAR-limited growth and a significant negative correlation under PAR-saturated growth. The microcystin concentration, as a ratio with respect to biovolume and protein, correlated neither with growth rate nor with PAR. Adaptation of microcystin production to a higher irradiance during transient states lasted for 5 days. During the period of illumination at a PAR of 10 and 40 micro mol of photons m(-2) s(-1), the intracellular microcystin content increased to values 10 to 20% higher than those at the end of the dark period. Extracellular (dissolved) microcystin concentrations were 20 times higher at 40 micro mol of photons m(-2) s(-1) than at 10 micro mol of photons m(-2) s(-1) and did not change significantly during the light-dark cycles at both irradiances. In summary, our results showed a positive effect of PAR on microcystin production and content of Microcystis strain PCC 7806 up to the point where the maximum growth rate is reached, while at higher irradiances the microcystin production is inhibited.[1]


  1. Effects of light on the microcystin content of Microcystis strain PCC 7806. Wiedner, C., Visser, P.M., Fastner, J., Metcalf, J.S., Codd, G.A., Mur, L.R. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (2003) [Pubmed]
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