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Frontiers in Microbiology




cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms, differential metabolites, growth phase, Microcystis aeruginosa, untargeted metabolomics


Cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (cHABs) dominated by Microcystis aeruginosa threaten the ecological integrity and beneficial uses of lakes globally. In addition to producing hepatotoxic microcystins (MC), M. aeruginosa exudates (MaE) contain various compounds with demonstrated toxicity to aquatic biota. Previously, we found that the ecotoxicity of MaE differed between MC-producing and MC-free strains at exponential (E-phase) and stationary (S-phase) growth phases. However, the components in these exudates and their specific harmful effects were unclear. In this study, we performed untargeted metabolomics based on liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to reveal the constituents in MaE of a MC-producing and a MC-free strain at both E-phase and S-phase. A total of 409 metabolites were identified and quantified based on their relative abundance. These compounds included lipids, organoheterocyclic compounds, organic acid, benzenoids and organic oxygen compounds. Multivariate analysis revealed that strains and growth phases significantly influenced the metabolite profile. The MC-producing strain had greater total metabolites abundance than the MC-free strain at S-phase, whereas the MC-free strain released higher concentrations of benzenoids, lipids, organic oxygen, organic nitrogen and organoheterocyclic compounds than the MC-producing strain at E-phase. Total metabolites had higher abundance in S-phase than in E- phase in both strains. Analysis of differential metabolites (DMs) and pathways suggest that lipids metabolism and biosynthesis of secondary metabolites were more tightly coupled to growth phases than to strains. Abundance of some toxic lipids and benzenoids DMs were significantly higher in the MC-free strain than the MC-producing one. This study builds on the understanding of MaE chemicals and their biotoxicity, and adds to evidence that non-MC-producing strains of cyanobacteria may also pose a threat to ecosystem health.





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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.