Ecotoxicology (London, England)

Correlations between cyanobacterial density and bacterial transformation to the viable but nonculturable (VBNC) state in four freshwater water bodies.

PMID 26048238


Nutrient concentrations, phytoplankton density and community composition, and the viable but nonculturable (VBNC) state of heterotrophic bacteria were investigated in three connected reservoirs and a small isolated lake in South China to study the relationship between biotic and abiotic factors and the VBNC state in bacteria. Nutrient concentrations in the reservoirs increased in the direction of water flow, whereas Wenshan Lake was more eutrophic. Cyanobacterial blooms occurred in all four water bodies, with differing seasonal trends and dominant species. In Xili and Tiegang Reservoirs, the VBNC ratio (percent of VBNC state bacteria over total viable bacteria) was high for most of the year and negatively correlated with cyanobacterial density. Laboratory co-culture experiments were performed with four heterotrophic bacterial species isolated from Wenshan Lake (Escherichia coli, Klebsiella peneumoniae, Bacillus megaterium and Bacillus cereus) and the dominant cyanobacterial species (Microcystis aeruginosa). For the first three bacterial species, the presence of M. aeruginosa induced the VBNC state and the VBNC ratio was positively correlated with M. aeruginosa density. However, B. cereus inhibited M. aeruginosa growth. These results demonstrate that cyanobacteria could potentially regulate the transformation to the VBNC state of waterborne bacteria, and suggest a role for bacteria in cyanobacterial bloom initiation and termination.