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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2009

On the control of HAB species using low biosurfactant concentrations

Gustafsson, S.; Hultberg, M.; Figueroa, R. I.; Rengefors, K.


Biosurfactants have been suggested as a method to control Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), but warrant further and more in-depth investigation. Here we have investigated the algicidal effect of a biosurfactant produced by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa on five diverse marine and freshwater HAB species that have not been tested previously. These include Alexandrium minutum (Dinophycaee), Karenia brevis (Dinophyceae), Pseudonitzschia sp. (Bacillariophyceae), in marine ecosystems, and Gonyostomum semen (Raphidophyceae) and Microcystis aeruginosa (Cyanophyecae) in freshwater. We examined not only lethal but also sub-lethal effects of the biosurfactant. In addition, the effect of the biosurfactant on Daphnia was tested. Our conclusions were that very low biosurfactant concentrations (5 µg mL-1) decreased both the photosynthesis efficiency and the cell viability and that higher concentrations (50 µg mL-1) had lethal effects in four of the five HAB species tested. The low concentrations employed in this study and the diversity of HAB genera tested suggest that biosurfactants may be used to either control initial algal blooms without causing negative side effect to the ecosystem, or to provoke lethal effects when necessary


Alexandrium minutum; Gonyostomum semen; Harmful algal blooms; Karenia brevis; Microcystis aeruginosa; Pseudonitzschia; Rhamnolipids

Published in

Harmful Algae
2009, volume: 8, number: 6, pages: 857-863
Publisher: Elsevier

Authors' information

Gustafsson, Susanne
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Horticulture
Figueroa, Rosa
Rengefors, Karin

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG14 Life below water

UKÄ Subject classification

Fish and Aquacultural Science

Publication Identifiers


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