Genotoxicity detected during cyanobacteria bloom in a water supply reservoir

Luana Wunsche, Taynah Vicari, Sabrina Loise de Morais Calado, Juliana Wojciechowski, Valéria Freitas de Magalhães, Helena Cristina Silva de Assis, Daniela Morais Leme, Marta Margarete Cestari


The aquatic ecosystems are susceptible to cyanobacterial blooms due to the eutrophication of water bodies caused by human activities. In this study, phytoplankton and cyanotoxins analysis, as well as cellular and genetic biomarkers of toxicity (Allium cepa test - higher plant test system), were evaluated in water samples of Alagados Reservoir during a cyanobacterial bloom in South Brazil. The water samples were collected during the wet season at two sites in the Reservoir. Paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs) were detected in both samples (sites 1 and 2); however, the levels of PSTs were higher in site 1. Gonyautoxin 2 was the major cyanotoxin found in the Reservoir. Both samples were able to induce cytotoxic effects (reduced Mitotic Index) and damage the genetic material (i.e., increased frequencies of chromosome aberration and micronuclei) of meristematic cells of A. cepa. The cellular and genetic damages were higher in the sample site 1, wherein high levels of PSTs were verified. Thus, our findings suggested that cyanotoxins-contaminated waters may damage the genetic material of living organisms, and therefore this group of contaminants should be assessed for their potential genotoxicity.

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