Saxitoxin-Producing Raphidiopsis raciborskii (Cyanobacteria) Constrains Daphnia Fitness and Feeding Rate despite High Nutritious Food Availability

Toxics. 2023 Aug 11;11(8):693. doi: 10.3390/toxics11080693.


Changes in food quality can dramatically impair zooplankton fitness, especially in eutrophic water bodies where cyanobacteria are usually predominant. Cyanobacteria are considered a food with low nutritional value, and some species can produce bioactive secondary metabolites reported as toxic to zooplankton. Considering that cyanobacteria can limit the survival, growth and reproduction of zooplankton, we hypothesized that the dietary exposure of neotropical Daphnia species (D. laevis and D. gessneri) to saxitoxin-producing cyanobacteria impairs Daphnia feeding rates and fitness regardless of a high availability of nutritious algae. Life table and grazing assays were conducted with different diets: (1) without nutritional restriction, where neonates were fed with diets at a constant green algae biomass (as a nutritious food source), and an increasing cyanobacterial concentration (toxic and poor food source), and (2) with diets consisting of different proportions of green algae (nutritious) and cyanobacteria (poor food) at a total biomass 1.0 mg C L-1. In general, the presence of high proportions of cyanobacteria promoted a decrease in Daphnia somatic growth, reproduction and the intrinsic rate of population increase (r) in both diets with more pronounced effects in the nutritionally restricted diet (90% R. raciborskii). A two-way ANOVA revealed the significant effects of species/clone and treatments in both assays, with significant interaction between those factors only in the second assay. Regarding the grazing assay, only D. laevis was negatively affected by increased cyanobacterial proportions in the diet. In the life table assay with constant nutritious food, a reduction in the reproduction and the intrinsic rate of the population increase (r) of all species were observed. In conclusion, we found adverse effects of the toxic cyanobacterial strain R. raciborskii on Daphnia fitness, regardless of the constant amount of nutritious food available, proving the toxic effect of R. raciborskii and that the nutritional quality of the food has a greater influence on the fitness of these animals.

PMID:37624198 | PMC:PMC10458173 | DOI:10.3390/toxics11080693


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