Effects of lead(II) on the extracellular polysaccharide (EPS) production and colony formation of cultured Microcystis aeruginosa

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To investigate the effects of lead(II) on the production of extracellular polysaccharides (EPS), including bound extracellular polysaccharides (bEPS) and soluble extracellular polysaccharides (sEPS), and the colony formation of Microcystis aeruginosa, cultures of M. aeruginosa were exposed to four concentrations (5.0, 10.0, 20.0 and 40.0 mg/L) of lead(II) for 10 d under controlled laboratory conditions. The results showed that 5.0 and 10.0 mg/L lead(II) stimulated M. aeruginosa growth throughout the experiment while 20.0 and 40.0 mg/L lead(II) inhibited M. aeruginosa growth in the first 2 d exposure and then stimulated it. As compared to the control group, significant increases in the bEPS and sEPS production were observed in 20.0 and 40.0 mg/L lead(II) treatments (P < 0.05). Large colony formations were not observed throughout the experiment. However, four tested concentrations of lead(II) could significantly promote the formation of small and middle colonies after 10 d exposure (P < 0.05), and 40.0 mg/L lead(II) had the best stimulatory effect. Lead(II) could stimulate bEPS production, which conversely promoted colony formation, suggesting that heavy metals might be contributing to the bloom-forming of M. aeruginosa in natural conditions.

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