Harmful cyanobacteria blooms may deteriorate freshwater environments, leading to bad water quality that can adversely affect the health of humans, animals, and aquatic life. Many cyanobacteria can produce toxic metabolites, with Microcystin-LR (MC-LR) being the most commonly detected cyanotoxin in fresh water bodies. In this study, a MC-LR degrading Bacillus sp. strain was isolated from Hulupi Lake (HLPL), Taiwan and tested for its degradability of the cyanotoxin. The results showed that the degradation of Microcystin-LR by the isolated Bacillus sp. was temperature-dependent with an optimum MC-LR removal at 37 °C and a first order degradation constant rate for 0.22 day-1. The degradation rate was also found to increase with decreasing MC-LR concentrations and increasing Bacillus sp. concentrations. Biomolecular monitoring of three types of genes (mlrA, CAAX, and GST) involved in the degradation indicated that mlrA, and CAAX genes were present in the indigenous bacteria in HLPL water samples. However, for the isolated Bacillus sp. strain, only CAAX genes were detected. The absence of the mlrA gene in the isolated Bacillus sp. strain shows that the degradation of MC-LR does not necessarily follow the pathways with mlrA, and can also follow the pathways involved with CAAX type II amino-terminal protease.
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