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Short- and long-term dynamics of the toxic potential and genotypic structure in benthic populations of Microcystis.

  • Misson, Benjamin
  • Donnadieu-Bernard, Florence
  • Godon, Jean-Jacques
  • Amblard, Christian
  • Latour, Delphine
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2012
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Microcystis colonies are known to overwinter on the surface of the sediment of freshwater ecosystems. However, little is known about the genotypic and toxicological dynamics of Microcystis populations during this benthic life stage. In this study, we report a two-year-long survey of benthic populations of Microcystis, which had spent from a few days to more than six years in the sediment. In order to avoid any interaction with the planktonic proliferations, we chose two deeply buried benthic populations, which could be easily dated. Quantitative PCR on mcyB gene and protein phosphatase inhibition assays were performed to measure their toxic potential, and their genotypic structure was assessed by Capillary Electrophoresis-Single Strand Conformation Polymorphism (CE-SSCP), based on 16S-23S Intergenic Transcribed Spacer (ITS). The microcystin content of the cells seemed to change sharply during the first few months of benthic survival, whereas this content was low and decreased steadily after several years of benthic life. No genetic selection was observed in either the proportion of potentially toxic clones or the ITS sequences for any of the populations considered. From these results, the benthic life stage of Microcystis appears to preserve the structure and the composition of the population over a far larger time scale than classical overwintering period. Finally, some genotypes were common in both of the benthic populations, even though they originated from planktonic blooms that had developed five years apart, suggesting a major overlap of planktonic proliferations in successive years.

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