CO2 enrichment and excess nitrogen supply synergistically increase toxicity of marine dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum

Discharges of CO2 and nutrients by anthropogenic activities have notable contributions to CO2 enrichment and eutrophication in coastal systems. Following our previous study that toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum will increase their growth rate and cellular toxicity under elevated levels of CO2, we further examined the joint effects of CO2 enrichment and excess nitrogen supply through a 29-day experiment under three CO2 levels (400, 800 and 1200 ppm) with a high N/P ratio of 80. It was found that the two factors have synergistical effects in promoting the increase of cellular toxicity. There were remarkable increases in toxin biosynthesis of paralytic shellfish toxins when both intracellular and extracellular toxins were considered. Under the joint impacts of CO2 enrichment and excess nitrogen supply, the apparent transformation from gonyautoxins2/3 to gonyautoxins1/4, with much higher toxicity and lower rate of release, is likely to be another major factor accounting for the increasing toxicity. The increasing growth rate and cellular toxicity of A. minutum under the scenarios with elevated concentrations of both CO2 and nitrogen in coastal systems in the future will increase the risks associated with such toxic algal blooms.

Li F., Guo L., Chen J., Lian Z. & Yu R.-C., 2024. CO2 enrichment and excess nitrogen supply synergistically increase toxicity of marine dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum. Journal of Hazardous Materials 463: 132869. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2023.132869. Article (subscription required).


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