Isolation of Virus Capable of Lysing the Brown Tide Microalga, Aureococcus anophagefferens

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Science  04 Nov 1994:
Vol. 266, Issue 5186, pp. 805-807
DOI: 10.1126/science.266.5186.805


Viruses have been hypothesized to control blooms of Aureococcus anophagefferens gen. et sp. nov. (Chrysophyceae), a marine phytoplankton that since 1985 has caused devastating summer blooms called "brown tide." By means of ultrafiltration methods, viruses specific to this alga were isolated from both the Great South Bay and Peconic Bay systems of Long Island, New York, during the summer bloom period of 1992. Cell lysis of healthy algal cultures was demonstrated, as well as continuing reinfection with serial transfers of cultures. Electron microscope surveys yielded images of phage-like virus particles with tails that could attach to A. anophagefferens cells within minutes of exposure. The isolation and cultivation of this virus highlights the need for further study of viral infection of eukaryotic algae and the potential for a better understanding of algal bloom control by viral infection.

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