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Aquat Toxicol. 2006 Nov 16;80(2):194-203. Epub 2006 Aug 26.

Effects of Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii and Aphanizomenon ovalisporum (cyanobacteria) ingestion on Daphnia magna midgut and associated diverticula epithelium.

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Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental, Rua dos Bragas 177-289, 4050-123 Porto, Portugal.


This article reports a light and electron microscopy investigation of the effects of Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii and Aphanizomenon ovalisporum ingestion on midgut and associated digestive diverticula of Daphnia magna. Additionally, survivorship and growth effects caused by feeding on cyanobacteria were assessed. Three cyanobacteria were used in the experiments: cylindrospermopsin (CYN)-producing C. raciborskii, CYN-producing A. ovalisporum and non-CYN-producing C. raciborskii. In order to discriminate between the alterations due to the low nutritional value of cyanobacteria and toxic effects, a control group was fed on the chlorophyte Ankistrodesmus falcatus and another control group was not fed. In the chlorophyte fed control, the epithelium lining the midgut and associated diverticula is mainly formed by strongly stained cells with an apical microvilli border. Nevertheless, unstained areas in which cell lyses had occurred were also observed. In the unfed control, the unstained areas became predominant due to an increment of cell lyses. All individuals fed on CYN-producing A. ovalisporum and some of those fed on non-CYN-producing C. raciborskii appear similar to the unfed control. However, some individuals fed on non-CYN-producing C. raciborskii showed similarities with the fed control. In contrast, the midgut and digestive diverticula of D. magna fed on CYN-producing C. raciborskii showed a widespread dissociation of epithelial cells, associated with severe intracellular disorganization, but cell lysis was less evident than in controls. These alterations cannot be attributed to CYN, because those effects were not induced by CYN-producing A. ovalisporum. Therefore, data suggest the production of another unidentified active metabolite by CYN-producing C. raciborskii, responsible for the disruption of cell adhesion in the epithelium of D. magna digestive tract. Data also show that the tested cyanobacteria are inadequate as food to D. magna, due to low nutritional value and toxic content.

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