Phosphorus uptake by Microcystis during passage through fish guts

Lewin, Wolf-Christian, Norbert Kamjunke, Thomas Mehner

Limnol. Oceanogr., 48(6), 2003, 2392-2396 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2003.48.6.2392

ABSTRACT: Herbivorous fish feed on cyanobacteria. Digestability differs, however, between cyanobacteria species without mucous cover and mucilaginous genera such as Microcystis. The latter can pass fish guts almost undamaged, and it has been hypothesized that they can take up nutrients during gut passage. Here we tested whether live Microcystis, as food for juvenile roach labeled with 33P, indeed showed higher radioactivity after gut passage as compared to gut contents in control experiments with fish fed heated Microcystis. Microcystis showed high viability after passage through roach guts, and live colonies had a significantly higher radioactivity than dead ones. We conclude that Microcystis is protected against digestion in roach guts and can directly use the phosphorus supplied in the fish guts during passage.

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