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Environ Toxicol. 2005 Feb;20(1):67-73.

Allelopathic effects of the toxic cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa on duckweed, Lemna gibba L.

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Centre for Advanced Research in Environmental Genomics, Ottawa-Carleton Institute of Biology, Department of Biology, University of Ottawa, 150 Louis Pasteur, P.O. Box 450, Station A, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Cyanotoxins are a group of compounds produced by cyanobacteria that can have severe physiological effects on other organisms, including humans. The potential allelopathic effects of Microcystis aeruginosa, a toxic cyanobacterium, on the duckweed plant, Lemna gibba L., were examined using three experimental methods: (1) a series of toxicity bioassays, (2) evaluation of toxin production by M. aeruginosa in the direct and indirect presence of L. gibba, and (3) inhibition of oxygen evolution in photosynthesis. The results showed that, first, there were no clear dose-dependent effects of the microcystin-LR standard or the toxic M. aeruginosa culture filtrate on any of the end points measured in the toxicity bioassays (plant and frond number, dry weight, growth rate, chlorophyll content; one-way ANOVA, p > 0.05). In those cases in which an EC(50) value could be obtained, chlorophyll a was the most sensitive end point, as it had the lowest EC(50) value (14.47 microg/L microcystin-LR) of all the end points. Second, the presence of L. gibba did not result in higher microcystin-LR production in the toxic M. aeruginosa culture. And, last, oxygen evolution was not affected in isolated chloroplasts exposed directly to microcystin-LR. Therefore, microcystins from the toxic cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa do not appear to have an allelopathic effect on the common aquatic macrophyte Lemna gibba.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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