Microbial degradation of microcystins

Dariusz Dziga, Marcin Wasylewski*, Benedykt Wladyka, Sonja Nybom, Jussi Meriluoto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Article or Literature Reviewpeer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)


Hepatotoxic microcystins that are produced by freshwater cyanobacteria pose a risk to public health. These compounds may be eliminated by enzymatic degradation. Here, we review the enzymatic pathways for the degradation of these hepatotoxins, some of which are newly discovered processes. The efficiencies of microcystin biodegradation pathways are documented in several papers and are compared here. Additionally, a comprehensive description of the microcystin enzymatic degradation scheme has been supplemented with a proposal for a new biodegradation pathway. Critical comments on less documented hypotheses are also included. The genetic aspects of biodegradation activity are discussed in detail. We also describe some methods that are useful for studying the biological decomposition of microcystins, including screening for microcystin degraders and detecting microcystin degradation products, with an emphasis on mass spectrometric methodology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-852
Number of pages12
JournalChemical Research in Toxicology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2013
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


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