Spatio-Temporal Monitoring of Benthic Anatoxin-a-Producing Tychonema sp. in the River Lech, Germany

Franziska Bauer, Michael Stix, Bernadett Bartha-Dima, Juergen Geist, Uta Raeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Incidents with toxic benthic cyanobacteria blooms have been increasing recently. In 2019, several dogs were poisoned in the river Lech (Germany) by the benthic anatoxin-a-producing genus Tychonema. To characterize spatial and temporal distribution of potentially toxic Tychonema in this river, a systematic monitoring was carried out in 2020, focusing on the occurrence of the genus, its toxin production and habitat requirements. Tychonema and cyanobacterial community composition in benthic mats and pelagic samples were identified using a combined approach of microscopy and DNA sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. In addition, anatoxin-a concentrations of selected samples were measured using the ELISA method. The habitat was characterized to assess the ecological requirements and growth conditions of Tychonema. Tychonema mats and anatoxin-a were detected at several sampling sites throughout the entire study period. Toxin concentrations increased with the progression of the vegetation period and with flow direction, reaching values between 0 and 220.5 µg/L. Community composition differed among pelagic and benthic samples, with life zone and substrate condition being the most important factors. The results of this study highlight the importance of monitoring and understanding the factors determining occurrence and toxin production of both pelagic and benthic cyanobacteria due to their relevance for the health of humans and aquatic ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number357
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • cyanobacteria
  • cyanotoxins
  • habitat
  • macrophytes
  • neurotoxins
  • public health
  • reservoir
  • toxic bloom


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