Variation of Microcystis and microcystins coupling nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients in Lake Erhai, a drinking-water source in Southwest Plateau, China.Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2014; 21(16):9887-98.ES
Lake Erhai is the second largest lake of Southwest China and an important drinking water source. The lake is currently defined as the preliminary stage of eutrophic states, but facing a serious threat with transfer into intensive eutrophication. The present study examined the dynamics of Microcystis blooms and toxic Microcystis in Lake Erhai during 2010, based on quantitative real-time PCR method using 16S rRNA gene specific for Microcystis and microcystin systhesis gene (mcy), and chemical analysis on microcystin (MC) concentrations. Total Microcystis cell abundance at 16 sampling sites were shown as an average of 1.7 × 10(7) cells l(-1) (1.3 × 10(2)-3.8 × 10(9) cells l(-1)). Microcystin LR (MC-LR) and microcystin RR (MC-RR) were the main variants. The strong southwesterly winds, anticlockwise circular flows and geographical characteristics of lake and phytoplankton community succession impacted the distribution patterns of Chl a and MC in the lake. The concentration of Chl a and MC and abundances of total Microsytis and MC-producing Microsystis (MCM) were shown to be positively correlated with pH, DO and TP, negatively correlated with SD, NO₃-N, TN/Chl a and TN/TP, and not correlated with NH₄-N, TN, dissolved total nitrogen (DTN) and water temperatures. When TN/TP decrease, Microcystis tended to dominate and MC concentrations tended to increase, suggesting that the "TN/TP rule" can be partially applied to explain the correlation between the cyanobacterial blooms and nutrients N and P only within a certain nutrient level. It is speculated that N and P nutrients and the associated genes (e.g., mcy) may jointly drive MC concentration and toxigenicity of Microcystis in Lake Erhai.