Puddick, J., Goodwin, E. O., Hawes, I., Hamilton, D. P., & Wood, S. A. (2019). In situ collection and preservation of intact Microcystis colonies to assess population diversity and microcystin quotas. Toxins, 11(8). https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11080435
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13792
Understanding of colony specific properties of cyanobacteria in the natural environment has been challenging because sampling methods disaggregate colonies and there are often delays before they can be isolated and preserved. Microcystis is a ubiquitous cyanobacteria that forms large colonies in situ and often produces microcystins, a potent hepatotoxin. In the present study a new cryo-sampling technique was used to collect intact Microcystis colonies in situ by embedding them in a sheet of ice. Thirty-two of these Microcystis colonies were investigated with image analysis, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, quantitative polymerase chain reaction and high-throughput sequencing to assess their volume, microcystin quota and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) genotype diversity. Microcystin quotas were positively correlated to colony volume (R² = 0.32; p = 0.004). Individual colonies had low Microcystis ITS genotype diversity and one ITS operational taxonomic unit predominated in all samples. This study demonstrates the utility of the cryo-sampling method to enhance the understanding of colony-specific properties of cyanobacteria with higher precision than previously possible.
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