Precision early detection of invasive and toxic cyanobacteria: A case study of Raphidiopsis raciborskii

Fengjiao Tan, Peng Xiao, Jun R. Yang, Huihuang Chen, Lei Jin, Yigang Yang, Tsair Fuh Lin, Anusuya Willis, Jun Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Blooms of the toxic cyanobacterium, Raphidiopsis raciborskii (basionym Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii), are becoming a major environmental issue in freshwater ecosystems globally. Our precision prevention and early detection of R. raciborskii blooms rely upon the accuracy and speed of the monitoring method. A duplex digital PCR (dPCR) monitoring approach was developed and validated to detect the abundance and toxin-producing potential of R. raciborskii simultaneously in both laboratory spiked and environmental samples. Results of dPCR were strongly correlated with traditional real time quantitative PCR (qPCR) and microscopy for both laboratory and environmental samples. However, discrepancies between methods were observed when measuring R. raciborskii at low abundance (1 − 105 cells L 1), with dPCR showing a higher precision compared to qPCR at low cell concentration. Furthermore, the dPCR assay had the highest detection rate for over two hundred environmental samples especially under low abundance conditions, followed by microscopy and qPCR. dPCR assay had the advantages of simple operation, time-saving, high sensitivity and excellent reproducibility. Therefore, dPCR would be a fast and precise monitoring method for the early warning of toxic bloom-forming cyanobacterial species and assessment of water quality risks, which can improve prediction and prevention of the impacts of harmful cyanobacterial bloom events in inland waters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102125
JournalHarmful Algae
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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