Sustained high nutrient supply as an allelopathic trigger between Periphytic biofilm and Microcystis aeruginosa

Yonghong Wu, Jun Tang, Junzhuo Liu, Bruce Graham, Philip G Kerr, Hong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Allelopathy among aquatic organisms, especially microorganisms, has received growing attention in recent years for its role in shaping interactions with bloom-forming algae. Many studies have shown that allelopathy occurs and increases under nutrient limiting conditons. However, to date there is no reported direct evidence to indicate allelopathy occurs under the condition of constant high nutrient supply. Here we report the allelopathic action of periphytic biofilm on bloom-forming cyanobacteria (Microcystis aeruginosa), which was triggered by the stress of high nutrient conditions, and continues while nutrients are sustained at high levels (trophic state index at 159 and 171). The experimental evidence indicates that the electron transport from photosystem II (PS II) to photosystem I (PS I) in M. aeruginosa is interrupted by the identified allelochemicals, (9Z)-Octadec-9-enoic acid and (9Z)-Hexadec-9-enoic acid, leading to the failure of photosynthesis and the subsequent death of M. aeruginosa. Our findings indicate that the nutrient stress of constant high nutrient supply may be a newly recognized trigger causing allelopathy between microbial competitors, and therefore opening a new direction for the better management of ecological processes in cyanobacteria-dominated and hyper-eutrophic waters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9614-9623
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Early online date24 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 05 Sep 2017


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