Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae)
Cyanobacteria are photosynthetic bacteria which occur naturally in water sources. In some waters these organisms can form water blooms. These water blooms can create problems for the utilisation of the sources for drinking water or recreation, since cyanobacteria can produce several toxic compounds.
It has also been shown that cyanobacteria blooms create good growth conditions for heterotrophic opportunistic pathogenic bacteria. Aerosols from these blooms produced during recreation activities can contain toxins and pathogenic bacteria.
The most important species of cyanobacteria in this regard are Aphanizomenon, Anabena, Nostoc, Plankthotrix (formerly known as Oscillatoria) and Microcystis.
|From left to right: Aphanizomenon, Anabena, Nostoc, Plankthotrix (formerly known as Oscillatoria) and Microcystis|
The best known toxins are liver damaging peptides (hepatotoxins) and the neurotoxic alkaloids, which effectively block nerve pulses. Compounds produced by cyanobacteria are associated with neurodegenerative (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/Parkinsonism-dementia complex (ALS-PDC).
The main research areas are development and evaluation of methods for the detection of cyanobacteria toxins and studies examining the influence of environmental factors on toxin production by, and growth of, cyanobacteria, and the effect of cyanobacteria on growth of Legionella.
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Rohrlack, T., Edvardsen, B., Skulberg, R., Halstvedt, C.B., Utkilen, H., Ptacnik, R., Skulberg, O. (2008). Oligopeptide chemotypes of the toxic cyanobacterium Planktothrix can form subpopulations with dissimilar ecological traits. Limnol. Oceanogr. 53(4) 1279 – 1293.
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Utkilen, H., Kvernrød, I. A. og Gjølme, N. (2008). Er cyanobakterieoppblomstringer en gunstig nisje for utviklingen av heterotrofe bakteriepopulasjoner? Vann 43 (2) 105 – 110.
Gjølme, N., Utkilen, H. and Rohrlack, T. (2009). Protein: a Proposal for a standards method to express cyanobacterial biomass in laboratory experiments. Harmfull Algae. 8: 726 – 729.
Bomo, A.,M. Tryland, I., Haande, S., Corneliussen, C., Utkilen, H. (2011) Growth of opportunistic pathogenic bacteria associated with cyanobacteria. Water Science and Technology. 64 2: 384 – 389.
Bolstad, K., Utkilen, H., Rohrlack, T., Thiodolf, A., M., Aaberge, I., Fonahn, Kvernrød, I. A., Wedege E. (2011). Do rowing activities in waters with cyanobacterial blooms constitute a health risk for Legionella infectiions? 40th Scandinavian Society of Immunolgy meeting Geilo. April.