Hyman, M., Q. Wang, A. E. Wilson, S. Adhikari, and B. T. Higgins. 2021. Production of Daphnia zooplankton on wastewater-grown algae for sustainable conversion of waste nutrients to fish feed. Journal of Cleaner Production 310:127501.
This study investigates the upcycling of nutrients in anaerobic digestate via algal biomass to zooplankton which is a natural fish feed. There are no published studies, to the authors’ knowledge, on the viability of growing zooplankton on digestate-grown algae. Here, the viability of digestate-grown Chlorella sorokiniana as a feed for the large-bodied generalist zooplankter, Daphnia, was tested. It was found that Daphnia fed with digestate-grown C. sorokiniana led to 1.5- to 14-fold greater Daphnia population growth than Daphnia fed with Ankistrodesmus sp., an established feed. A sterol analysis of C. sorokiniana found 4–6 mg/g of the sterol, ergosterol, and nearly double the α-linolenic acid content of Ankistrodesmus. Sterols and α-linolenic acid are often-limiting nutrients in Daphnia diets. Other factors hypothesized to influence nutrient transfer from algae to Daphnia were also tested, including algal feed concentration, sterol supplementation, and the presence of digestate bacteria in the algal feed. The presence of bacteria and exogenous cholesterol had no significant impacts on Daphnia growth. The higher feed concentration (5 mg C/L) led to 3 times higher Daphnia growth than the low feed concentration (1.5 mg C/L) even though the latter concentration has frequently been used by other researchers. Finally, it was determined that the feed conversion ratio of algae to Daphnia fell in the range of 0.19–0.31 and that trophic transfer of carbon was 25–28% while that of nitrogen was 29–34% in this un-optimized system. These values compare favorably to livestock feed conversion efficiency but additional losses will occur when Daphnia are fed to fish. These results show that cultivation of Daphnia on digestate-grown algae is technically feasible.
Kozlowsky-Suzuki, B., A. E. Wilson, and A. Ferrao-Filho. 2012. Biomagnification or biodilution of microcystins in aquatic foodwebs? Meta-analyses of laboratory and field studies. Harmful Algae 18:47-55
Cyanobacteria, conspicuous photoprokaryotes in aquatic ecosystems, may produce secondary metabolites such as the hepatotoxins, microcystins (MC). While MC have been quantified in numerous aquatic consumers across a variety of ecosystems, there is still debate whether biomagnification or biodilution of MC generally occurs in aquatic foodwebs. Given the threat that MC pose to aquatic foodwebs, livestock, and humans, we synthesized data from 42 studies on the concentration of MC in consumers, such as zooplankton, decapods, molluscs, fishes, turtles and birds, to determine the dominant process. To compare results across studies, we calculated the biomagnification factor (BMF) as the ratio between the MC concentration measured in consumers and their diet. Biomagnification is indicated when BMF mean and associated 95% confidence intervals (CI) >1. Biodilution is shown if a BMF mean and 95% CI <1. As expected, increasing concentrations of MC in diets resulted in increasing concentrations of MC in consumers. Nevertheless, biodilution of MC was evident for most primary consumers. This finding was robust across four datasets that focused on different aspects of data independence and variance, and may be explained by low hydrophobicity of MC, diet preferences, or detoxification. Zooplankton and zooplanktivorous fish, however, showed some potential for biomagnification (i.e. mean BMF > 1). Plausible, but largely unexplored, possibilities for the relatively higher MC accumulation by these consumers are low detoxification efficiency by zooplankton, MC trophic transfer via the microbial foodweb, contamination of zooplankton net samples with large cyanobacterial colonies and filaments, or the release of both free and bound MC in zooplankton during digestion by fish. Factors related to study design may have influenced the magnitude of MC biodilution. For example, consumers fed diets consisting of highly toxic cyanobacterial lab cultures and large, potentially inedible net phytoplankton showed greater biodilution when compared to seston. Given their hepatotoxic nature, MC concentrations were relatively higher in liver and hepatopancreas tissues than other tissues. Whole organisms exhibited, however, relatively greater MC (i.e. higher BMF) than specific tissues, and this finding could be attributed to the contribution of zooplankton to whole organism MC analyses (89% of BMF estimates > 1). Finally, BMF was positively related to study length showing that longer exposure to toxic food resulted in higher MC accumulation in consumers, which could have important implications in eutrophic or tropical systems where toxic blooms may persist year-round.