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Flocculating properties and potential of Halobacillus sp. strain H9 for the mitigation of Microcystis aeruginosa blooms

Zhang, Danyang, Ye, Qian, Zhang, Fuxing, Shao, Xueping, Fan, Yongxiang, Zhu, Xiaoying, Li, Yinan, Yao, Luming, Tian, Yun, Zheng, Tianling, Xu, Hong
Chemosphere 2019 v.218 pp. 138-146
Danio rerio, Halobacillus, Microcystis aeruginosa, Phaeocystis, algae, algae culture, algal blooms, aquatic environment, bacteria, cell membranes, flocculation, humans, larvae, microcystins, neutralization, pH, temperature, toxicity, water resources, zeta potential
Microcystis aeruginosa can cause harmful algal blooms in freshwaters worldwide. It has already seriously affected human lives and prevented the use of water resources. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop ecofriendly and effective methods to control and eliminate M. aeruginosa in aquatic environments. In this study, Halobacillus sp. strain H9, a bacterium that showed high M. aeruginosa flocculation activity, was isolated and selected to assess its potential for the removal of M. aeruginosa. The analyses of flocculation activity and mode indicated that the strain H9 induced M. aeruginosa flocculation by secreting active flocculating substance rather than by directly contacting algal cells. A 5% concentration of the H9 supernatant could efficiently flocculate M. aeruginosa cells with a density of up to 5 × 107 cells/mL. Dramatic increases in the zeta potential indicated that charge neutralization could be the mechanism of the flocculation process. The strain H9 flocculated M. aeruginosa with no damage to the algal cell membrane, and did not result in microcystin being released into the surrounding environment. The flocculated algal culture was less toxic to zebrafish larvae, suggesting an environmentally friendly benefit of the H9 supernatant. In addition to M. aeruginosa, the H9 strain was also able to flocculate two other species causing harmful algal blooms, Phaeocystis globose and Heterosigma akashiwo. Furthermore, the flocculation activity of the H9 supernatant was stable at different temperatures and over a wide pH range. These characteristics give the H9 strain great potential for mitigating the influences of harmful algal blooms.