Skip to main content

Cultivation and characterization of the MaMV-DC cyanophage that infects bloom-forming cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa


The MaMV-DC cyanophage, which infects the bloom-forming cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa, was isolated from Lake Dianchi, Kunming, China. Twenty-one cyanobacterial strains were used to detect the host range of MaMV-DC. Microcystic aeruginosa FACHB-524 and plaque purification were used to isolate individual cyanophages, and culturing MaMV-DC with cyanobacteria allowed us to prepare purified cyanophages for further analysis. Electron microscopy demonstrated that the negatively stained viral particles are tadpole-shaped with an icosahedral head approximately 70 nm in diameter and a contractile tail approximately 160 nm in length. Using one-step growth experiments, the latent period and burst size of MaMV-DC were estimated to be 24–48 hours and approximately 80 infectious units per cell, respectively. Restriction endonuclease digestion and agarose gel electrophoresis were performed using purified MaMV-DC genomic DNA, and the genome size was estimated to be approximately 160 kb. Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) analysis revealed four major structural proteins. These results support the growing interest in using freshwater cyanophages to control bloom-forming cyanobacterium.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • Ackermann H W. 2007. 5500 phages examined in the electron microscope. Arch Virol, 152: 227–243.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Brussaard C P. 2004. Viral control of phytoplankton populations — a review. J Eukaryot Microbiol, 51: 125–138.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Chen J, Zhang D, Xie P, Wang Q, and Ma Z. 2009. Simultaneous determination of microcystin contaminations in various vertebrates (fish, turtle, duck and water bird) from a large eutrophic Chinese lake, Lake Taihu, with toxic Microcystis blooms. Science of the Total Environment, 407: 3317–3322.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Davis T W, Berry D L, Boyer G L, and Gobler C J. 2009. The effects of temperature and nutrients on the growth and dynamics of toxic and non-toxic strains of Microcystis during cyanobacteria blooms. Harmful algae, 8: 715–725.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Gao E B, Gui J F, and Zhang Q Y. 2012. A novel cyanophage with a cyanobacterial nonbleaching protein a gene in the genome. J Virol, 86: 236–245.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Gao E B, Yuan X P, Li R, and Zhang Q Y. 2009. Isolation of a novel cyanophage infectious to the filamentous cyanobacterium planktothrix agardhii(cyanophyceae) from lake donghu, china. Aquat Microb Ecol, 54: 163–170.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Liu Y M, Yuan X P, and Zhang Q Y. 2006. Spatial distribution and morphologic diversity of virioplankton in lake donghu, china. Acta Oecol, 29: 328–334.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Oliver R L, and Ganf G G. 2002. Freshwater blooms. In: A. Whitton, M. Potts Eds. The ecology of cyanobacteria, Springer Netherlands, pp 149–194.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Safferman R S, Cannon R E, Desjardins P R, Gromov B V, and others.1983. Classification and nomenclature of viruses of cyanobacteria. Intervirology, 19: 61–66.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Safferman R S, and Morris M E. 1963. Algal virus isolation. Science, 140: 679–680.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Sengco M R. 2009. Prevention and control of Karenia brevis blooms. Harmful Algae, 8: 623–628.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Suttle C A, and Chan A M. 1993. Marine cyanophages infecting oceanic and coastal strains of Synechococcus: abundance, morphology, cross-infectivity and growth characteristics. Mar Ecol-Prog Ser, 92: 99–109.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tan X, Kong F X, Yu Y, and Zhang M. (2009). Spatio-temporal variations of phytoplankton community composition assayed by morphological observation and photosynthetic pigment analyses in Lake Taihu (China). Afr J Biotechnol, 8: 4977–4982.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Wichels A, Gerdts G, and Schütt C. 2002. Pseudoalteromonas phages, a significant group of marine bacteriophages in the north sea. Aquat Microb Ecol, 27: 233–239.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wood S A, Kuhajek J M, Winton M, and Phillips N R. 2012. Species composition and cyanotoxin production in periphyton mats from three lakes of varying trophic status. FEMS Microbiol Ecol, 79: 312–326.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Wu Z X, Gan N Q, and Song L R. 2007. Genetic diversity: Geographical distribution and toxin profiles of Microcystis strains (Cyanobacteria) in China. J Integr Plant Biol, 49: 262–269.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Yang F, Wei H Y, Li X Q, Li Y H, Li X B, Yin L H, and Pu Y P. 2013. Isolation and Characterization of an Algicidal Bacterium Indigenous to Lake Taihu with a Red Pigment able to Lyse Microcystis aeruginosa. Biomed Environ Sci, 26: 148–154.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Yoshida M, Yoshida T, Kashima A, Takashima Y, Hosoda N, Nagasaki N, and Hiroishi S. 2008. Ecological dynamics of the toxic bloom-forming cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa and its cyanophages in freshwater. Appl Environ Microbiol, 74: 3269–3273.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Yoshida T, Takashima Y, Tomaru Y, Shirai Y, and others. 2006. Isolation and characterization of a cyanophage infecting the toxic cyanobacterium microcystis aeruginosa. Appl Environ Microb, 72: 1239–1247.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang Q Y, and Gui J F. 2008. Viriplankton. In: Zhang Q Y, Gui J F. Eds. Aquatic Virology, Beijing, Higher Education Press, pp 297–350.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zhang Q Y, and Gui J F. 2009. One kind of strategic bio-resources that cannot be ignored — Freshwater and marine viruses and their roles in the global ecosystem. Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 24:520–526 (Chinese with English abstract).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang Q Y, and Gui J F. 2012. Atlas of Aquatic Viruses and Viral Diseases. Beijing, Science Press. pp 404–460.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Qiya Zhang.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ou, T., Li, S., Liao, X. et al. Cultivation and characterization of the MaMV-DC cyanophage that infects bloom-forming cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa . Virol. Sin. 28, 266–271 (2013).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Cyanophages
  • Myovirus
  • Microcystis aeruginosa Bloom-forming cyanobacterium
  • Genomic DNA
  • Major structural proteins