Nitrogen may be the key to cyanobacteria toxin production, according to a press release from Stony Brook University.
Stony Brook researchers sequenced 6,300 genes from commonly found Microcystis cyanobacteria to examine the algae’s nutrient consumption characteristics. They determined that the cells produce the toxin microcystin when there is nitrogen to consume in the environment.
Researchers observed lower production of microcystin in cyanobacteria living in low nitrogen environments during the study.
Results of the study are published by the Public Library of Science.
Image: The 2011 algal bloom in Lake Erie from Kelley’s Island. (Credit: T. Joyce/NOAA GLERL)