Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 111–117 | Cite as

Fish kills related toPrymnesium parvum N. Carter (Haptophyta) in the People's Republic of China

  • Mingxin Guo
  • P. J. Harrison
  • F. J. R. Taylor


Prymnesium parvum has been known to cause mass mortality of fish in PR of China since 1963. It usually occurs in brackish waters and inland high-mineral waters. The fish-breeding industry (mainly species of carp) in these regions of the PRC has been threatened by this microalga. Electron microscopic examination of isolates from Dalian and Tianjin revealed that the isolates wereP. parvum, based on specific scale patterns and two kinds of scales. The symptoms of the poisoned fish and the control of this toxic alga are also discussed. The addition of ammonium sulfate, copper sulfate, mud, reduced salinity and organic fertilizer to fish ponds has been partially successful in controlling blooms of this toxic alga. Adding 50–70 kg ha−1 day−1 manure (dry weight) to the fish pond to inhibitP. parvum from becoming the dominant species in the fish pond is recommended. A reduction in salinity to less than 2‰ is the easiest way to save freshwater fish from being poisoned byP. parvum. Use of ammonium sulfate is an efficient, economical and safer method to controlP. parvum than copper sulfate or mud.

Key words

Prymnesium parvum haptophyte fish kills China toxins salinity ammonium sulfate 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Billard C (1983)Prymnesium zebrinum sp. nov. etP. annuliferum sp. nov., deux nouvelles espèces apparentées àP. parvum Carter (Prymnesiophyceae). Phycologia 22: 141–151.Google Scholar
  2. Carter N (1937) New or interesting algae from brackish water. Arch. Protistenk. 90: 1–68.Google Scholar
  3. Chang FH, Ryan KG (1985)Prymnesium calathiferum sp. nov. (Prymnesiophyceae), a new species isolated from Northland, New Zealand. Phycologia 24: 191–198.Google Scholar
  4. Chen Jiaofen, Tseng Chengkui (1986) Two species ofPrymnesium from the north of China. Oceanol. Limnol. Sinica 17: 394–399. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  5. Collins M (1978) Algal toxins. Microbiol. Rev. 42: 725–746.Google Scholar
  6. Conrad W (1941) Notes protistologiques. XXI. Sur les Chrysomonadines à trois fouets. Aperçu synoptique. Bull. Mus. r. Hist. nat. Belg. 17: 1–16.Google Scholar
  7. Dafni Z, Ulitzur S, Shilo M (1972) Influence of light and phosphate on toxin production and growth ofPrymnesium parvum. J. gen. Microbiol. 70: 199–207.Google Scholar
  8. Gong Changda (1986) Efficiency of ammonium sulfate for control ofPrymnesium saltans. J. freshwat. Fish. 5: 20–22. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  9. Gou Weimin (1983) The reason for the fish death at aquacultural experimental station at Ningxia and the distribution ofPrymnesium parvum in Ningxia. J. Dalian Fisheries Coll. 1: 43–48. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  10. Green JC, Hibberd DJ, Pienaar RN (1982) The taxonomy ofPrymnesium (Prymnesiophyceae) including a description of a new cosmopolitan species,P. patellifera sp. nov., and further observations onP. parvum. Br. phycol. J. 17: 363–382.Google Scholar
  11. Guillard RRL, Ryther JH (1962) Studies of marine planktonic diatoms. I.Cyclotella nana Hustedt andDetonula confervacea (Cleve) Gran. Can. J. Microbiol. 8: 229–239.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Guo Mingxin, Tang Yiang, Song Qingchun, Gao Ailiu, He Zhihui (1988a) Effects of salinity, alkalinity, pH and ammonium sulphate on growth ofPrymnesium parvum Carter. J. Dalian Fish. Coll. 9: 1–10. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  13. Guo Mingxin, Wang Zhiyu, Jiang Jingying (1988b) The microstructure and ultrastructure ofPrymnesium parvum Carter in China. J. Dalian Fish. Coll. 11: 1–6. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  14. Hasan MR, Macintosh DJ (1986) Acute toxicity of ammonia to common carp fry. Aquaculture 54 no. 1–2: 97–107.Google Scholar
  15. He Zhihui (1974) Appearance and control ofPrymnesium parvum, a harmful alga in the brackish water. J. Zool. 1: 26–28. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  16. He Zhihui (1984) The investigation of chemistry and biology of Lake Wulingxu. J. Dalian Fish. Coll. 1: 41–56. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  17. He Zhihui (1985) The biology, toxicity and control ofPrymnesium parvum Carter. J. freshwat. Fish. 5: 27–32. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  18. He Zhihui (1989) A review on the studies ofPrymnesium parvum Carter in China. J. Dalian fish. Coll. 4: 13–20. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  19. Holdway PA, Watson RA, Moss B (1978) Aspects of the ecology ofPrymnesium parvum (Haptophyta) and water chemistry in the Norfolk Broads, England. Freshwat. Biol. 8: 295–331.Google Scholar
  20. Kaartvedt S, Johnsen TM, Aksnes D, Lie U, Svendsen H (1991) Occurrence of the toxic phytoflagellatePrymnesium parvum and associated fish mortality in a Norwegian Fjord system. Can. J. Fish. aquat. Sci. 48: 2316–2323.Google Scholar
  21. Larsen A, Eikrem W, Paasche E (1993) Growth and toxicity inPrymnesium patelliferum (Prymnesiophyceae) isolated from Norwegian waters. Can. J. Bot. 71: 1357–1362.Google Scholar
  22. Liebert F, Deerns WM (1920) Onderzoek naar de oorzaak van een vischesterfte in den polder Workumer-Nierwland, nabij Workum. Verh. Rapp. Rijksinst. VisschOnderz. 1: 81–93.Google Scholar
  23. Li Yunghan, Liu Jianping (1988) The prevention and cure of fish disease caused byPrymnesium parvum Carter. J. Dalian Fish. Coll. 9: 11–21. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  24. Liu Maochun (1983) Diagnosis and control of fish disease caused byPrymnesium parvum Carter. J. freshwat. Fish. 2: 6–8. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  25. Liu Qing (1988) Effect of ammonium and formalin on the photosynthesis and growth ofPrymnesium parvum. J. Dalian Fish. Coll.: 88–92. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  26. Liu Xinglian (1986) The technique of controllingPrymnesium parvum in inland sulfate-containing type water fish pond. J. freshwat. Fish. 6: 88–92. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  27. Manton I, Leedale GF (1963) Observations on the fine structure ofPrymnesium parvum Carter. Arch. Mikrobiol. 45: 285–303.Google Scholar
  28. Massart J (1920) Recherches sur les organismes inférieurs. VIII. Sur la motilité des flagellates. Bull. Acad. r. Belg. Cl. Sci. Sér. 5, 6: 116–141.Google Scholar
  29. Ni Dashu (1979) Fish disease investigation manual. Science Press, Beijing. 256 pp. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  30. Reich K, Aschner M (1947) Mass development and control of the phytoflagellatePrymnesium parvum in fish ponds in Palestine. Palest. J. Bot. Jerusalem 4: 14–23.Google Scholar
  31. Reich K, Kahn J (1954) A bacteria-free culture ofPrymnesium parvum (Chrysomonadinae). Bull. Res. Council Israel 5: 114.Google Scholar
  32. Shilo M, Aschner M (1953) Factors governing the toxicity of cultures containing the phytoflagellatePrymnesium parvum Carter. J. gen. Microbiol. 8: 333–343.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Shilo M, Shilo M (1953) Conditions which determine the efficiency of ammonium sulphate in the control ofPrymnesium parvum in fish breeding ponds. Appl. Microbiol. 1: 330–333.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Shilo M, Shilo M (1961) Osmotic lysis ofPrymnesium parvum by weak electrolytes. Verh. int. ver. Limnol. 14: 905–911.Google Scholar
  35. Shilo M (1971) Toxins of chrysophyceae. In: Microbial Toxins. Vol. 7. Academic Press, New York 67–103Google Scholar
  36. Starmach K (1968) Chrysophyta. 1. Chrysophyceae Ziotowiciowie. Flora Sŀodkowodna Polski, Tom 5. Warszawa.Google Scholar
  37. Ulitzur S (1969) Purification and separation of the toxins produced by the phytoflagellatePrymnesium parvum. Verh. int. ver. Limnol. 17: 771–777.Google Scholar
  38. Wang Yunxiang, Wang Yupei, Liu Yumin (1985) Investigation of fish disease caused byPrymnesium saltans Massart. J. freshwat. Fish. 2: 1–4. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  39. Wang Yunxiang, Wang Yupei (1992) Biology and classification ofPrymnesium saltans. Acta Hydrobiol. Sinica 3: 193–199. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  40. Yang Xiulan, Wei Yunsheng, Wei Yutong, Li Wenduo (1993) The prevention and control ofPrymnesium parvum caused the disease of fish in ponds of saline and alkaline soil. J. Fisheries China 17: 319–323. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  41. Yariv J, Hestrin S (1961) Toxicity of the extracellular phase ofPrymnesium parvum cultures. J. gen. Microbiol. 24: 165–175.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Zhu Huichen (1985) Effect ofPrymnesium parvum Carter on cultural fishes in the coastal reclaimed fish farm. J. freshwat. Fish. Zhejiang 1: 36–37. (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  43. Zipora D, Ulitzur S, Shilo M (1972) Influence of light and phosphate on toxin production and growth ofPrymnesium parvum. J. gen. Microbiol. 70: 199–207.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mingxin Guo
    • 1
  • P. J. Harrison
    • 2
  • F. J. R. Taylor
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of OceanographyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Botany & OceanographyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

Personalised recommendations