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Microalgal toxin(s): characteristics and importance

Hikmet Katırcıoğlu
Beril S Akin
Tahir Atici


Prokaryotic and eukaryotic microalgae produce a wide array of compounds with biological activities. These include antibiotics, algicides, toxins, pharmaceutically active compounds and plant growth regulators. Toxic microalgae, in this sense, are common only among the cyanobacteria and dinoflagellates. The microalgal toxins is either important as material for useful drugs or one of the great mysteries in the world of biotoxicology. The aquatic poisons have long remained one of the great mysteries in the world of biotoxicology. There is evidence that these toxic organisms are on the increase, perhaps as a result of increased global pollution. The ability of cyanobacterial populations to produce potent toxins and annual examples of associated human and animal health problems have raised the position of cyanobacteria in the priorities for the management and protection of water quality in countries where health problems associated with the toxins have been perceived. The purpose of this review is to discuss the present understanding of microalgal toxins from microalgae in a manner that will stimulate interdisciplinary research with these microorganisms.

Key Words: Toxin, cyanobacteria, microalgae, dinoflagellate.

African Journal of Biotechnology Vol.3(12) 2004: 667-674