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First European Multi-Lake Survey on cyanotoxins published !

Article by Evanthia Mantzouki and Bas Ibelings, Univ. of Geneva.

The first product of the European Multi Lake Survey (EMLS) is published in Toxins. This paper would not have been possible without the EMLS, the grassroots initiative that brought together around 200 scientists from 26 European countries to sample their lakes and answer questions of ecological importance. Understanding global scale phenomena, such as climate warming, requires information of high spatial resolution to investigate if lakes of similar characteristics (e.g. morphometry, trophic status) would respond in a consistent manner to similar environmental forcing. Cyanobacterial occurrence as a typical consequence of environmental perturbation in aquatic systems worldwide, was the centre of attention in the EMLS. Starting from a common goal to produce adequate evidence and eventually push for stricter regulation towards improved freshwater quality, the EMLS consortium (Figure 1) designed straightforward sampling protocols to accommodate the capacity in funding, time, personnel and equipment of all participants, without compromising quality. Cyanotoxins, phytoplankton pigments and environmental parameters were sampled and analysed in a fully standardised way to ensure scientific validity.

As a result of this effort, the first peer-reviewed EMLS article casts light on cyanotoxins and toxin quota distribution across the European continent. In an unexpected -but welcoming for our research purpose!- hot summer in 2015, temperature effects, both directly through boosting physiological processes of cyanobacterial growth and, indirectly through enhancing water stability that facilitate buoyant cyanobacterial cells, determined the spatial distribution of hepatotoxins (microcystins), neurotoxins (anatoxin-a) and cytotoxins cylindrospermopsin). The Northern European lakes were struck by a prolonged heat wave, more than the Mediterranean ones, during the sampling period that pinpointed the reality of climate warming. In such an event, toxin diversity increased along the latitudinal gradient, showing that cyanobacterial toxin production is enhanced not necessarily when it is hot (Mediterranean) but when it gets warmer than usual (heat event in North). Increases in toxin diversity (increase in toxin numbers but also representation of each toxin), entailed an increased presence of cylindrospermopsin, anatoxin and less studied microcystin variants, with a simultaneous decrease in the famous MC-LR. While global warming continues, the direct and indirect effects of increased lake temperatures will drive changes in the distribution of cyanobacterial toxins in Europe, potentially promoting selection of a few highly toxic species or strains.

Reference (Open access):

Mantzouki et al. (2018). Temperature Effects Explain Continental Scale Distribution of Cyanobacterial Toxins. Toxins 2018, 10(4), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins10040156

EMLS was supported by COST Actions NETLAKE and CYANOCOST.

 

Breaking news: New type of photosynthesis discovered in cyanobacteria

From the report by Hayley Dunning in www.imperial.ac.uk (15 June 2018):

“The discovery, published today in Science, was led by Imperial College London, supported by the BBSRC, and involved groups from the ANU in Canberra, the CNRS in Paris and Saclay and the CNR in Milan.

The vast majority of life on Earth uses visible red light in the process of photosynthesis, but the new type uses near-infrared light instead. It was detected in a wide range of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) when they grow in near-infrared light, found in shaded conditions like bacterial mats in Yellowstone and in beach rock in Australia.

As scientists have now discovered, it also occurs in a cupboard fitted with infrared LEDs in Imperial College London.

The discovery changes our understanding of the basic mechanism of photosynthesis and should rewrite the textbooks.”

Reference:

D.J. Nürnberg, J. Morton, S. Santabarbara, A. Telfer, P. Joliot, L. A. Antonaru, A. V. Ruban, T. Cardona, E. Krausz, A. Boussac, A. Fantuzzi and A. William Rutherford (2018). Photochemistry beyond the red limit in chlorophyll f–containing photosystems. Science  15 Jun 2018: Vol. 360, Issue 6394, pp. 1210-1213. DOI: 10.1126/science.aar8313

Cylindrospermopsin review paper acknowledging CYANOCOST, included in collection on Planetary Health.

Planetary Health is a relatively recent concept that aims to establish connections between the state of Earth’s natural systems and human health and well-being, thereby providing a broad perspective for environmental research and its importance to public health. ESPI’s Associate Editor Paul Tratnyek and Guest Editor Joe Needoba  have compiled a collection of ESPI papers with strong relevance to planetary health. In making their selections, the editors identified papers that address one or more “planetary boundaries”, which are the global-scale environmental threats that pose the greatest risk of disrupting Earth’s natural life support systems.

The paper “A review on cylindrospermopsin: The global occurrence, detection, toxicity and degradation of a potent cyanotoxin” by de la Cruz et al. has been selected for inclusion in the Editor’s Choice web collection on Planetary Health. The collection is introduced by Paul and Guest Editor Joseph Needoba (OHSU-PSU) in their Editorial, and you can read all the papers included at rsc.li/editorschoice-paul.

This review paper on cylindrospermopsin is a product from a multi-national group of authors affiliated to academic organizations and agencies in USA, Cyprus and Greece. The paper acnowledges CYANOCOST.

Reference:

de la Cruz, A. A., Hiskia, A., Kaloudis, T., Chernoff, N., Hill, D., Antoniou, M. G., He, X., Loftin, K., O’Shea, K., Zhao, C., Pelaez, M., Han, C., Lynch, T. J., & Dionysiou, D. D. (2013). A review on cylindrospermopsin: the global occurrence, detection, toxicity and degradation of a potent cyanotoxin. Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, 15(11), 1979-2003. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C3EM00353A

 

Job position: Algal Strain Engineer / Molecular Biologist, Algenuity, UK

Algenuity seeks an experienced and innovative strain engineering scientist/ molecular biologist to take a lead role in the design and conducting of laboratory-based genetic engineering projects in the field of microalgal biotechnology. This is a senior scientific position within the company, working closely with the CSO to ensure the timely delivery of Algenuity’s internal R&D projects and external research contracts.

Read the job description and required qualifications in the Euraxess page.

Short Total Synthesis of [15N5]-Cylindrospermopsins from 15NH4Cl Enables Precise Quantification of Freshwater Cyanobacterial Contamination

 

From the abstract of a recent parer by Mailyan et al., published in JACS:

“Fresh water cyanobacterial algal blooms represent a major health risk because these organisms produce cylindrospermopsin, a toxic, structurally complex, zwitterionic uracil-guanidine alkaloid recognized by the EPA as a dangerous drinking water contaminant. At present, the ability to detect and quantify the presence of cylindrospermospin in water samples is severely hampered by the lack of an isotopically labeled standard for analytical mass spectrometry. Herein, we present a concise, scaled total synthesis of 15N cylindrospermosin from 15N ammonium chloride, which leverages a unique stereoselective intramolecular double conjugate addition step to assemble the tricyclic guanidine core. In addition to providing the first pure isotopically labeled probe for precise quantification of this potent biotoxin in fresh water sources, our results demonstrate how unique constraints associated with isotope incorporation compel novel solutions to synthesis design.”

Reference:

Artur K. Mailyan, Joanna L. Chen, Weiwei Li, Arturo A. Keller, Shawn M. Sternisha, Brian G. Miller, and Armen ZakarianShort (2018). Total Synthesis of [15N5]-Cylindrospermopsins from 15NH4Cl Enables Precise Quantification of Freshwater Cyanobacterial Contamination. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2018 140 (18), 6027-6032. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b03071

Algal bloom kills 250,000 salmon in Canada

News reproduced from www.griegseafood.no.

“Grieg Seafood has experienced acute mortality at two of its BC locations in the Jervis Inlet following harmful algal blooms (HAB) in the area. Total mortality is estimated to 250,000 fish or approximately 1,000 tons. This represents some 50 percent of the total biomass from the two locations.

Grieg Seafood continuously works to improve biosecurity and all of Grieg Seafood’s sites perform algal monitoring by taking daily samples which are analyzed using advanced image analysis techniques. This allows for the identification of the species, prevalence and depth distribution of any algae present.

The HAB in Jervis consisted of Heterosigma, a species of microscopic algae that cause acute mortality in fish. Due to extraordinarily high concentration and spread throughout the entire water column, use of Aeration treatments or other protective measures could not prevent the incident.

Grieg Seafood has insurances covering such incidents, and estimated costs including individual share of insurance are limited to NOK 25 million. The costs will be charged the Q2 2018 results”.

Read the original post in Grieg Seafood website here.

Read the Wikipedia article on Heterosigma akashiwo here.

 

 

Microginins from a Microcystis sp. Bloom Material Collected from the Kishon Reservoir, Israel

From the abstract of a recent paper by Anat Lodin-Friedman and Shmuel Carmeli, published in Marine Drugs:

“During blooms, cyanobacteria produce diverse modified peptides. Among these are the microginins, which inhibit zinc-containing metalloproteases. Ten microginins, microginins KR767 (1), KR801(2), KR835 (3), KR785 (4), KR604 (5), KR638 (6), KR781 (7), KR815 (8), FR3 (9), and FR4 (10), were isolated from the extract of a bloom material of Microcystis sp. (IL-405) collected from the Kishon Reservoir, Israel in the fall of 2009. The structures of the pure compounds were elucidated using 1D and 2D NMR techniques and high-resolution mass spectrometry. The absolute configuration of the chiral centers of the amino acids were determined by Marfey’s and advance Marfey’s methods and by comparison of 1H and 13C NMR chemical shifts of the Ahda derivatives with those of known microginins. These microginins differ in sequence and absolute configuration of the chiral centers of the Ahda moieties and by N-methylation of the Ahda amine group and extent of chlorination of the Ahda terminal methyl group. The compounds were evaluated for inhibition of the zinc metalloprotease, aminopeptidase M, and exhibited low- to sub-nanomolar half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values”.

Reference:

Lodin-Friedman, A.; Carmeli, S. Microginins from a Microcystis sp. Bloom Material Collected from the Kishon Reservoir, Israel. Mar. Drugs 2018, 16, 78. https://doi.org/10.3390/md16030078

Useful resources for the HABs season – EPA Freshwater HABs Newsletter

The May 2018 issue of the US EPA Freshwater HABs Newsletter is published.

It features, among others, a list of tools and resources for the HABs season. The list of resources is useful for drinking water supplies, bathing water authorities and the general public.

You can download the newsletter here.

For subscription to the newsletter, comments, feedback or additional information, you can contact Lesley D’Anglada.

PhD position at the Research Department for Limnology Mondsee (University of Innsbruck) – Interreg (Alpine Space) project “Eco-AlpsWater”

The aim of the project Eco-AlpsWater is to improve the traditional monitoring approaches used in the Alpine region (Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC-EU WFD and, in Switzerland, the Water Protection Ordinance-WPO) with advanced and innovative DNA sequencing techniques such as metabarcoding. The new approach will make use of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) to analyze environmental DNA in waterbodies (which allow rapid species identification at low costs, from fish to bacteria), and smart technologies (automation in data processing, data storage, information retrieval). Along with the identification of gaps in the monitoring approaches across the Alpine regions, the new technologies will allow to define improved experimental monitoring protocols to be applied in pilot areas partly linked to other ongoing alpine space projects (SPARE, Hymocares) and including large perialpine lakes as well as smaller waterbodies, and rivers.

The position will be financed for 3 years (30 working hours per week, 75 percent appointment) according to the collective labour agreement (Kollektivvertrag) of the Austrian Universities (2096.- Euro monthly salary, 14x per year). We are looking for a person holding a Master degree in Biology with experience in limnology (or comparable qualification), dedicated to apply metabarcoding approaches in fish communities (respectively other organism groups such as planktonic and benthic algae). Parts of the working activities (e.g. sampling and laboratory analysis) will be performed with partner organisations of the project, i.e. in Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany or Slovenia. Further activities will comprise metabarcoding data analysis, report writing, preparation of scientific manuscripts, as well as communication with project partners and observers. The registration of the PhD thesis in Biology at the University of Innsbruck and the administration within the new doctoral programme “Alpine Biology and Global Change” will be expected.

Further Information: Univ. Doz. Dr. Josef Wanzenböck & Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rainer Kurmayer, Research Department for Limnology Mondsee, University of Innsbruck

http://www.uibk.ac.at/limno/index.html.de

email: Josef.wanzenboeck@uibk.ac.at; rainer.kurmayer@uibk.ac.at. For application please send a motivation letter together with a CV (in English).

Download in pdf format.

 

19th Congress of the European Section of the International Society of Toxinology, 22-26 Sept. 2018, Yerevan Armenia

The 19th Congress of the European Section of the International Society of Toxinology (IST) will be held on 22-26 Sept. 2018 in Yerevan, Armenia. The congress will include updates on all aspects of toxinology – from evolution and molecular biology, through chemistry and pharmacology, to clinical effects and advances in treatments of envenomed patients.

The closing date for the early-bird registration rate is 30 June, and the closing dates for submission of abstracts are 1 July for oral presentations and 15 August for posters.

Further details of the congress can be found at www.ist2018.sci.am