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Moringa-Seed-Based Coagulant Removes Microcystins Dissolved in Water

Selma Gouvea-Barros, Maria do Carmo Bittencourt-Oliveira, José E. S. Paterniani

Toxic cyanobacterial blooms commonly occur in bodies of water used to supply drinking water, leading to the presence of high concentrations of toxins in the water. Among the cyanotoxins, microcystins are the most frequently encountered in aquatic ecosystems. They have been associated with animal and human intoxication, illness, and death. Most of the chemical and physical methods employed by water control managers to control cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins are neither cost effective nor efficient. As an alternative, using natural coagulants that are biodegradable and easily deployed for water purification in small human communities have been proposed. In the present study, 28 assays are carried out using the jar test to investigate the effect of stirring rotation (time and speed), pH, and aqueous extracts of Moringa oleifera L. seeds (AqMO) on the cells, turbidity, and removal of Microcystis aeruginosa cells and extracellular microcystins. Cell removal efficiency ranged from 22.6  1.3 to 85.8  0.6%, and the reduction in turbidity ranged from 14.0  3.1 to 87.4  0.3% as a function of the different treatments. According to the critical value predicted, an AqMO dose of 540 mg L1 combined with an initial cell density of 10 105 cells mL1 will completely remove M. aeruginosa cells and significantly decrease extracellular microcystins content (ca. 54.4  7.9%). These results show promise for the development of effective treatments of potable water contaminated with cyanobacteria and microcystins in rural and isolated areas, thereby reducing the public health risks associated with these organisms. 

Effect of flavonoids isolated from Tridax procumbens on the growth and toxin production of Microcystis aeruginos

Gustavo Franciscatti Mecinaa, Mathias Ahii Chiae, Micheline Kézia Cordeiro-Araújo, maria do Carmo Bittencourt-Oliveira, Maria Varela Rosa, Ascensión Torres, José Maria Gonzales Molinillo, Francisco Antônio Macías, Regildo Márcio Gonçalves da Silva

The excessive proliferation of toxin producing cyanobacteria constitutes a significant health risk to the environment and humans. This is due to the contamination of potable water and accumulation of cyanotoxins in plant and animal tissues. As a means of controlling bloom forming cyanobacteria, secondary metabolites with pro-oxidative activities from plants are used to treat water bodies contaminated with cyanobacterial blooms and their associated toxins. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the mechanism of action of extract, fractions and isolated flavonoids of Tridax procumbens L. on Microcystis aeruginosa (Kützing) Kützing. by monitoring changes in growth, oxidative stress, antioxidant response, and cyanatoxin microcystins (MCs) production. The extract, fraction 3 and the isolated flavonoids significantly reduced the cell density of the cyanobacterium. Furthermore, the extract and fraction 3 increased the production of reactive oxygen species, induced lipid peroxidation, and altered antioxidant enzyme activities of M. aeruginosa. The total MCs content of the cyanobacterium was negatively affected by the presence of the extract, fractions and isolated flavonoids. The present study show that T. procumbens has secondary metabolites that are capable of interfering with the physiology and microcystins production of M. aeruginosa. These characteristics are promising for the control of this noxious cyanobacterium in aquatic ecosystems.

The Individual and Combined Effects of the Cyanotoxins, Anatoxin-a and Microcystin-LR, on the Growth, Toxin Production, and Nitrogen Fixation of Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Algae

Mathias Ahii Chia, Benjamin J. Kramer, Jennifer G. Jankowiak, Maria do Carmo Bittencourt-Oliveira, Christopher J. Gobler

Globally, eutrophication and warming of aquatic ecosystems has increased the frequency and intensity of cyanobacterial blooms and their associated toxins, with the simultaneous detection of multiple cyanotoxins often occurring. Despite the co-occurrence of cyanotoxins such as microcystins and anatoxin-a (ATX) in water bodies, their effects on phytoplankton communities are poorly understood. The individual and combined effects of microcystin-LR (MC-LR) and ATX on the cyanobacteria Microcystis spp., and Anabaena variabilis (a.k.a. Trichormus variabilis), and the chlorophyte, Selenastrum capricornutum were investigated in the present study. Cell density, chlorophyll-a content, and the maximum quantum efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) of Microcystis cells were generally lowered after exposure to ATX or MC-LR, while the combined treatment with MC-LR and ATX synergistically reduced the chlorophyll-a concentration of Microcystis strain LE-3. Intracellular levels of microcystin in Microcystis LE-3 significantly increased following exposure to MC-LR + ATX. The maximum quantum efficiency of photosystem II of Anabaena strain UTEX B377 declined during exposure to the cyanotoxins. Nitrogen fixation by Anabaena UTEX B377 was significantly inhibited by exposure to ATX, but was unaffected by MC-LR. In contrast, the combination of both cyanotoxins (MC-LR + ATX) caused a synergistic increase in the growth of S. capricornutum. While the toxins caused an increase in the activity of enzymes that scavenge reactive oxygen species in cyanobacteria, enzyme activity was unchanged or decreased in S. capricornutum. Collectively this study demonstrates that MC-LR and ATX can selectively promote and inhibit the growth and performance of green algae and cyanobacteria, respectively, and that the combined effect of these cyanotoxins was often more intense than their individual effects on some strains. This suggests that the release of multiple cyanotoxins in aquatic ecosystems, following the collapse of blooms, may influence the succession of plankton communities. 


Willian Rodrigues Macedo, Paulo Roberto de Camago Castro

O tratamento de sementes com agroquímicos é uma prática que confere maior proteção à plântulas contra pragas e doenças, no entanto poucas pesquisas são conduzidas para avaliar o efeito fisiológico desses produtos sobre a cultura do milho. Nosso estudo objetivou determinar o efeito de doses crescentes: 0; 17,5; 35; 52,5 e 70 g ingrediente ativo i.a. de thiamethoxam, via tratamento de sementes, em ambiente controlado e em campo de produção. Observamos que doses crescentes do thiamethoxam alteram o conteúdo de pigmentos foliares fotossinteticamente ativos, nas duas condições experimentais, bem como promoveu o ganho na massa seca da parte aérea das plantas crescidas em casa-de-vegetação, porém não foram observadas diferenças nos índices produtivos em campo de produção. Estes resultados indicam que o produto em questão altera o metabolismo vegetal, porém é necessário confirmar o efeito bioativador na cultura do milho.

Incidence of blossom-end rot in elongated tomato fruit

Lucas Baiochi Riboldi, Sabrina Helena da Cruz Araújo, Sérgio Tonetto de Freitas, Paulo Roberto de Camargo e Castro

Blossom-end rot (BER) is a physiological disorder that can affect 100% of the fruit crop depending on the genotype. Tomato varieties with elongated fruit usually have a greater susceptibility to BER than other varieties. To evaluate and identify the possible physiological and morphological characteristics related to the onset of BER development, four varieties of long-shape tomato fruit with different susceptibility to BER: ‘San Marzano,’ ‘Banana Legs,’ ‘Roma,’ and ‘Mini-Roma’ were examined. Our results show that ‘San Marzano’ and ‘Banana Legs’ (elongated fruit) had a higher incidence of BER and lower Ca2+ concentration in the distal fruit tissue. ‘San Marzano’ (the most elongated fruit) presented higher electrolyte leakage in the distal fruit tissue. By comparison, ‘Roma’ and ‘Mini-Roma’ (less elongated fruit) were less susceptible to BER and had a higher ratio for proximal/distal fruit Ca2+ and a lower distal cell-wall bound content of Ca2+. Additionally, xylem functionality (vessels transporting water and solutes) in the distal fruit tissue was also higher in these more-tolerant varieties. These results support the theory that total fruit content of Ca2+ is not the only factor determining fruit susceptibility to BER, but rather a balance between physiological and morphological factors that influence Ca2+ transport and allocation in the fruit.

The 24-epibrassinolide induces rice tolerance to water stress overcoming losses in grain yield

Lucas Baiochi Riboldi, Julian Alejandro Giraldo Murcia, Sabrina Helena da Cruz Araújo, Paulo Roberto de Camargo e Castro

Water stress leads to large productivity losses in rice cultivation, and plant hormones play a key role in the plant strategies to prevent the harmful effects of water stress in crop development. The objective of this work was to investigate the effects of brassinosteroids (BRs) in rice development and yield under irrigation and under water deficit conditions applied during the preanthesis period. Exogenous applications of bioregulators were performed through leaf spray. Two dosages of 24-epibrassinolide (EBL) were applied (0.01 μM and 0.1 μM), in addition to two dosages of ABA (2.27 mM and 4.54 mM ABA) in order to compare the effects, considering its already known beneficial effects in response to drought adaptation. Plants of the cultivar IRGA 424RI grown under greenhouse conditions were submitted to water deficit from V13 stage until reaching a leaf water potential of -2 MPa. Physiological, growth and biochemical parameters were measured. Even though the water stress reduced plant growth, 0.01µM EBL-treated plants presented unchanged initial dry weight, height and tillering after the stress imposition. The 0.1 µM EBL-treated plants maintained the total dry weight of grains even after water stress imposition, while control and ABA-treated plants showed a 63.9% and 28.1-58.6% reduction, respectively. The 0.01 µM EBL treatment doubled the contents of chlorophyll a, b and total and decreased stomatal conductance under stress in 41.1%. EBL treatments were able to maintain similar peroxidation levels between stressed and non-stressed plants. When analyzed together, these results indicate that EBL shows a promising perspective for improving rice tolerance to controlled water stress.

Abscisic acid (ABA) and 24-epibrassinolide regulate blossom-end rot (BER) development in tomato fruit under Ca2+ deficiency

Lucas Baiochi Riboldi, Sabrina Helena da Cruz Araújo, Julian Alejandro Giraldo Murcia, Sérgio Tonetto de Freitas, Paulo Roberto de Camargo e Castro .

Calcium (Ca2+) is an essential macronutrient in plants, and low concentrations of this nutrient may result in development of a physiological disorder known as blossom-end rot (BER) in tomato. Hormones can regulate the accumulation of Ca2+ and, consequently, fruit susceptibilities to BER. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of gibberellin (GA), abscisic acid (ABA), and 24-epibrassinolide (EBL) on Ca2+ accumulation and BER incidence in tomato. The ‘Tyna c.v’ tomato plants were sprayed biweekly, during anthesis, with water (control), GA (28.9 µmol L-1), ABA (90.8 µmol L-1and 136.2 µmol L-1), EBL (0.01 µmol L-1 and 0.1 µmol L-1). Treatments were applied until the physiological maturity of fruits of the first raceme in a completely randomized design and then, the following evaluations were performed: percentage of BER, growth evaluations, Ca2+ contents, physicalchemical parameters in fruits, stomatal conductance and transpiration. ABA and EBL treatments reduced BER incidence in a range of 6.6 to 9.0 %. The bioregulators used had no effect on plant growth, fruit diameter, length, or color. However, application of GA and EBL reduced titratable acidity and, the first also reduced soluble solids content in the fruit. All treatments, except GA treatment, increased Ca2+ contents in the fruits, when compared with the control. The highest fruit Ca2+ content was observed in plants treated with 0.01 µmol L-1 of EBL. According to our results, ABA and EBL increased Ca2+ concentrations and decreased BER incidence and thus there is a great potential for their use in agriculture in tomato fruit.

Cadmium toxicity degree on tomato development is associated with disbalances in B and Mn status at early stages of plant exposure

Marcia Eugenia Amaral Carvalho, Fernando Angelo Piotto, Mônica Regina Franco, Karina Lima Reis Borges, Salete Aparecida Gaziola, Paulo Roberto Camargo Castro, Ricardo Antunes Azevedo

Cadmium (Cd) toxicity is frequently coupled to its accumulation in plants, but not always the highest Cd concentration triggers the worst damages, indicating that additional events influence the magnitude of Cd side-effects. We investigated the early mechanisms behind the differential Cd-induced impacts on plant development of four tomato accessions with contrasting tolerance to Cd toxicity. At organ level, the highest Cd concentration was not associated with the largest biomass losses. In leaves, changes in superoxide dismutase and catalase activities were not related to differences in Cd concentration, which was unable to provoke H2O2 overproduction on the sixth day of plant exposure to this metal. Further investigation in the mineral profile revealed that magnitude of Cd toxicity depends probably on synergic effects from increased B status, in addition to the own Cd accumulation. Furthermore, disbalances in Mn status (i.e., excess in leaves and deficiency in roots) may enhance Cd toxicity degree. According to data, however, the low magnesium (Mg) status can be linked to tomato tolerance against Cd toxicity. In conclusion, the tomato tolerance degree under short-Cd exposure depends on actively, finely regulation of mineral homeostasis that results in different development of plant organs. The better understanding on the mode of action of Cd toxicity in plants can help in the establishment of strategies to mitigate its impacts on crop yield.

Is seaweed extract an elicitor compound? Changing proline content in drought-stressed bean plants

Marcia Eugenia Amaral Carvalho, Paulo Roberto de Camargo e Castro, Salete Aparecida Gaziola, Ricardo Aantunes Azevedo

Abiotic stresses negatively affect crop development and yield. However, the use of seaweed extracts can alleviate production losses through improvement of the antioxidant system and synthesis of compatible osmolytes. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of Ascophyllum nodosum extract on antioxidant response and yield of common bean plants (Phaseolus vulgaris) under drought stress. Therefore, two methods of application (foliar spray and soil irrigation) and two doses (5 and 10 mL L-1) were tested, whereas untreated plants were used as control. There were no significant differences in malondialdehyde and hydrogen peroxide contents among treatments, indicating that application of seaweed extract did not change the oxidative status in treated plants when compared to the control ones. On the other hand, the use of seaweed extract increased proline content even prior to drought stress (46.3 to 145.4% when compared to the control), and this increment remained until the 10th day of stress (from 60.1 to 201.7% over the reference plants), supporting early evidences that A. nodosum extract is a plant elicitor. The yield parameters were not affected by the extract, probably due to the severe drought stress which plants were submitted. The results suggest that A. nodosum extract affects proline metabolism in Phaseolus vulgaris plants, making the synthesis of this osmolyte more responsive to drought stress because seaweed-treated plants presented a higher proline content than the control ones during the exposure to water deficit.

'Spathaspora piracicabensis' f. a., sp. nov., a d-xylose-fermenting yeast species isolated from rotting wood in Brazil

Camila S. Varize, Raquel M. Cadete, Lucas D. Lopes, Renata M. Christofoleti-Furlan, Marc-Andre´ Lachance, Carlos A. Rosa, Luiz C. Basso

Two strains of a novel yeast species were isolated from rotting wood of an ornamental tree (purple quaresmeira, Tibouchina granulosa, Melastomataceae) in an Atlantic Rainforest area in Brazil. Analysis of the sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS-5.8S) region and the D1/D2 domains of the large subunit rRNA gene showed that this species belongs to the Spathaspora clade, and is phylogenetically related to Spathaspora brasiliensis, Candida materiae and Sp. girioi. The novel species ferments D-xylose, producing ethanol, with amounts between 3.37 and 3.48 g L−1 ethanol from 2% d-xylose. Ascospores were not observed from this new species. The name Spathaspora piracicabensis f. a., sp. nov. is proposed to accommodate these isolates. The type strain is UFMG-CM-Y5867T (= CBS 15054T = ESALQ-I54T). The MycoBank number is MB 822,320.