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Cyanotoxins: Bioaccumulation and Effects on Aquatic Animals

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Author(s): Aloysio da S. Ferrão-Filho | Betina Kozlowsky-Suzuki

Journal: Marine Drugs
ISSN 1660-3397

Volume: 9;
Issue: 12;
Start page: 2729;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: cyanobacteria | cyanotoxins | bioaccumulation | invertebrates | vertebrates

ABSTRACT
Cyanobacteria are photosynthetic prokaryotes with wide geographic distribution that can produce secondary metabolites named cyanotoxins. These toxins can be classified into three main types according to their mechanism of action in vertebrates: hepatotoxins, dermatotoxins and neurotoxins. Many studies on the effects of cyanobacteria and their toxins over a wide range of aquatic organisms, including invertebrates and vertebrates, have reported acute effects (e.g., reduction in survivorship, feeding inhibition, paralysis), chronic effects (e.g., reduction in growth and fecundity), biochemical alterations (e.g., activity of phosphatases, GST, AChE, proteases), and behavioral alterations. Research has also focused on the potential for bioaccumulation and transferring of these toxins through the food chain. Although the herbivorous zooplankton is hypothesized as the main target of cyanotoxins, there is not unquestionable evidence of the deleterious effects of cyanobacteria and their toxins on these organisms. Also, the low toxin burden in secondary consumers points towards biodilution of microcystins in the food web as the predominant process. In this broad review we discuss important issues on bioaccumulation and the effects of cyanotoxins, with emphasis on microcystins, as well as drawbacks and future needs in this field of research.
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