Detection of Cyanobacteria in Closed Water Systems in Southern Louisiana (USA)

Hurlburt BK1*, Brashear SS1, Zimba PV23

1 United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Southern Regional Research Center, 1100 Robert E. Lee Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70124 USA
2 Thad Cochran National Warmwater Aquaculture Center, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Stoneville, Mississippi 38776 USA
3 Current address: Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, Natural Resources Center 3200, 6300 Ocean Drive, Unit 5866, Corpus Christi, TX 78412 USA
* Correspondence: : Tel: (504)286-4462; Fax: (504)286-4430; Email:

Key Words: cyanobacteria, Louisiana, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, succession, water

Received March 02, 2011. Accepted June 06, 2011. Published September 14, 2011. Available online September 29, 2011.

doi: 10.14294/WATER.2011.6



Cyanobacteria are seemingly ubiquitous in nature, being found in hot springs, fresh and saline surface water bodies, both as a liquid or as ice, as well as soil and rock.  The composition and abundance of component species in a particular ecosystem can be very dynamic in response to nutrient availability and weather. In fresh water systems used for drinking or aquaculture, cyanobacterial blooms can be problematic due to the release of toxins or off-flavor metabolites. One very rich environment for the study of cyanobacterial communities is aquaculture ponds in the southeastern United States.  Aquaculture farms are comprised of multiple ponds that are arranged in close proximity, but usually have different populations of cyanobacteria. In an effort to begin to understand the dynamics of cyanobacterial population fluxes, we examined the composition of the community in twenty ponds on a commercial aquaculture farm in southern Louisiana using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) during weekly sampling over approximately a 8 month period.  We found that Microcystis sp. predominated, but several innocuous and other harmful species were present at varying times during the study.

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