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Elucidating and predicting the ecological roles of cyanopeptides in four Sao Paulo State Public water supply reservoirs

Grant number: 23/00798-4
Support Opportunities:Research Grants - Young Investigators Grants
Duration: August 01, 2024 - July 31, 2029
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Ecosystems Ecology
Principal Investigator:Mathias Ahii Chia
Grantee:Mathias Ahii Chia
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers: Daniel Roelke ; Marcelo Luiz Martins Pompêo ; Matthew Harke ; Miquel Lurling ; Sandra Maria Feliciano de Oliveira e Azevedo ; Triantafyllos Kaloudis ; Viviane Moschini Carlos


Brazil has a history of cyanobacterial blooms and elevated cyanotoxins crisis. Several cyanopeptides are formed during cyanobacterial blooms, but there are no studies on the dynamics and levels of these compounds in public water supply reservoirs in São Paulo, except for microcystins and nodularin. Worldwide, cultures of isolated strains and bloom samples indicate the presence of more than 800 cyanopeptides, and the genotype of cosmopolitan cyanobacterial species like Microcystis, Dolichospermum, and Planktothrix contain biosynthetic genes for cyanopeptides other than microcystins. Also, some isolated Brazilian strains under laboratory conditions have been demonstrated to produce bioactive cyanopeptides like aeruginosin, cyanopeptolin, spumigins, mycosporine-like amino acid, namalide, anabaenopeptin, and pseudospumigin. To understand the public health risk associated with these compounds, it is imperative to elucidate the ecological conditions responsible for their production in public water supply reservoirs. Therefore, the proposed project aims to monitor bloom formation and the production of cyanopeptides in the polymictic reservoirs Barra Bonita, Bariri, Tres Irmaos, and Nova Avanhandava over a three (3) year period. Because of the critical water supply roles these reservoirs provide in São Paulo state, the generated information from the proposed project will aid in reservoir monitoring, the development of tailored models for the prediction of the production of these compounds, and their ecotoxicology. In the proposed project, we intend to explore microbial ecosystem services substantially altered by cyanopeptides via metagenomics and metatranscriptomics. Also, the study seeks to understand the environmental (biological and abiotic) drivers controlling the biosynthesis of cyanopeptides and, via this knowledge, develop conceptual models for the prediction of bloom formation and cyanopeptide production. This model will be based on three areas of information that are transferrable across tropical lakes and reservoirs: 1) historical literature depicting cyanobacteria blooms in eutrophic conditions with low N:P; 2) newly generated information depicting some cyanobacteria blooms in eutrophic conditions with high N:P; and 3) new knowledge of cyanobacterial blooms with high toxicities at low- and high-N:P. From these, three-dimensional surface plots can depict the link between nutrient levels (in terms of N:P and external and internal loading), cyanoHAB prevalence, and cyanopeptide production. Once generated using actual data, the three-dimensional surface plot is no longer a conceptual model. The surface plot becomes a quantitative model that can determine cyanoHAB probability, species prevalence, and cyanopeptide diversity and abundance. (AU)

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