Microbial Community Changes Elicited by Exposure to Cyanobacterial Allelochemicals
An increasing body of evidence points out that allelopathy may be an important process shaping microbial communities in aquatic ecosystems. Cyanobacteria have well-documented allelopathic properties, mainly derived from the evaluation of the activity of allelopathic extracts or pure compounds towards monocultures of selected target microorganisms. Consequently, little is known regarding the community dynamics of microorganisms associated with allelopathic interactions. In this laboratory-based study, a Microcystis spp.-dominated microbial community from a freshwater lake was exposed, for 15 days, to exudates from the cyanobacterium Oscillatoria sp. strain LEGE 05292 in laboratory conditions. This cyanobacterium is known to produce the allelochemicals portoamides, which were among the exuded compounds. The community composition was followed (by means of polymerase chain reaction followed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and microscopic analyses) and compared to that of a non-exposed situation. Following exposure, clear differences in the community structure were observed, in particular for cyanobacteria and unicellular eukaryotic taxa. Interestingly, distinct Microcystis genotypes present in the community were differentially impacted by the exposure, highlighting the fine-scale dynamics elicited by the exudates. These results support a role for cyanobacterial allelochemicals in the structuring of aquatic microbial communities.
KeywordsPhytoplankton Synedra DGGE Band Allelopathic Activity Allelopathic Interaction
This work was partially supported by a grant (SFRH/BD/28771/2006) to PNL from Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia.
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