- Microcystis aeruginosa
Microcystis aeruginosa Scientific classification Kingdom: Bacteria Subkingdom: Eubacteria Phylum: Cyanobacteria Class: Cyanophyceae Order: Chroococcales Family: Microcystaceae Genus: Microcystis Species: M. aeruginosa Binomial name Microcystis aeruginosa
Microcystis aeruginosa is a species of freshwater cyanobacteria which can form harmful algal blooms (HABs) that are of economic and ecological importance. They are the most common toxic cyanobacterial bloom in eutrophic freshwater.
As the etymological derivation implies, Microcystis is characterized by small cells (of only a few microns' diameter), which lack individual sheaths.
Cells usually are organized into colonies (large colonies of which may be viewed with the naked eye) that begin in a spherical shape, but losing their coherence to become perforated or irregularly shaped over time.
The coloration of the protoplast is a light blue-green, appearing dark or brown due to optical effects of gas-filled vesicles; this can be useful as a distinguishing characteristic when using light microscopy. These vesicles provide the buoyancy necessary for M. aeruginosa to stay at a level within the water column at which they can obtain optimum light and oxygen levels for rapid growth.
M. aeruginosa is favored by warm temperatures (Oberholster), but toxicity and maximal growth rates are not totally coupled, as the cyanobacterium has highest laboratory growth rates at 32°C, while toxicity is highest at 20°C, lowering in toxicity as a function of increasing temperatures in excess of 28°C. Growth has been found to be limited below 15°C.
Because Microcystis aeruginosa can form persistent microcystin toxins under the right environmental conditions, it has come to be a source of drinking water pollution (which can be rendered hepatotoxic). This can lead to increased economic costs such as water quality mitigation measures in the form of increased costs at water filtration facilities, as well as damage to local tourism caused by lake or other waterway closures due to toxicity concerns.
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