The toxicities of a polyunsaturated fatty acid and a microcystin to Daphnia magna

M. Reinikainen*, J. A. O. Meriluoto, L. Spoof, K.-i. Harada

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are essential components of zooplankton diets. However, studies with PUFAs from cyanobacteria indicate toxic properties. We investigated the toxicity of the PUFA γ-linolenic acid and the cyanobacterial peptide toxin microcystin-LR to Daphnia. The PUFA was acutely toxic at a concentration of 9 μg ml-1. The effect of microcystin-LR was not statistically significant at the concentration used (3 μg ml-1), but an additive effect with the PUFA was observed. Relative to LC50-values of well-known pollutants, the PUFA was intermediately toxic. The activity equaled that of microcystin-LR, which is commonly treated as one of the most potent cyanobacterial toxins. Our results suggest that the toxic properties of PUFAs deserve more attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-448
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Daphnia
  • Fatty acid
  • Harmful
  • Lipid
  • Microcystin
  • Phytoplankton
  • PUFA
  • Toxic
  • Zooplankton


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