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Detection of cyanobacteria in closed water systems in southern Louisiana (USA)

Hurlburt, B. K., Brashear, S. S., Zimba, P. V.
Water 2011 v.3 pp. 79
Microcystis, aquaculture, commercial farms, community structure, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, ecosystems, freshwater, nutrient availability, ponds, population dynamics, weather, Louisiana
Cyanobacteria are seemingly ubiquitous in nature, being found in hot springs, fresh and saline surface water bodies, both as a liquid or as ice, as well as soil and rock. The composition and abundance of component species in a particular ecosystem can be very dynamic in response to nutrient availability and weather. In fresh water systems used for drinking or aquaculture, cyanobacterial blooms can be problematic due to the release of toxins or off-flavor metabolites. One very rich environment for the study of cyanobacterial communities is aquaculture ponds in the southeastern United States. Aquaculture farms are comprised of multiple ponds that are arranged in close proximity, but usually have different populations of cyanobacteria. In an effort to begin to understand the dynamics of cyanobacterial population fluxes, we examined the composition of the community in twenty ponds on a commercial aquaculture farm in southern Louisiana using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) during weekly sampling over approximately a 8 month period. We found that Microcystis sp. predominated, but several innocuous and other harmful species were present at varying times during the study.