Evidence for cyanophages active against bloom-forming freshwater cyanobacteria

L. Deng, Paul Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A total of 35 putative cyanophages able to infect non-axenic cultures of bloom-forming freshwater cyanobacteria in the genera Microcystis, Anabaena and Planktothrix were isolated from Lake Zurich (Switzerland) and lakes in the Cotswold Water Park (U.K.). Eleven lytic cyanophage isolates were isolated on Microcystis and 12 each on Anabaena and Planktothrix. Cyanophage isolation protocols varied when using these different cyanobacterial hosts. The collection of putative cyanophage isolates encompassed a variety of morphotypes, including the first filamentous cyanophage from any environment and the second siphocyanophage reported from fresh water. PCR primer sets for gp20, gp23 and MCP genes, which have been previously found to be conserved in other cyanophages, were used in an attempt to determine genetic diversity among the phage isolates. The failure to obtain specific amplification products from most isolates suggests that the cyanophages isolated in this study were different from those previously characterized from both marine and freshwater environments. Some putative cyanophages within the collection of isolates proved to have a very broad host range and were able to infect Anabaena, Microcystis and Planktothrix. The ability to infect a wide range of host taxa extends the potential reproductive period for lytic propagation, and also has implications for the transfer of genetic information between deeply separated cyanobacterial lineages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1240-1252
Number of pages13
JournalFreshwater Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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