Growth-suppressing and algicidal properties of an extract from Arundo donax, an invasive riparian plant, against Prymnesium parvum, an invasive harmful alga

Reynaldo Patiño, Rakib H. Rashel, Amede Rubio, Scott Longing

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This study examined the ability of acidic and neutral/alkaline fractions of a methanolic extract from giant reed (Arundo donax) and of two of its constituents, gramine and skatole, to inhibit growth of the ichthyotoxic golden alga (Prymnesium parvum) in batch culture. For this study, growth suppression was defined as inhibition of maximum cell density, algicidal activity as early occurrence of negative growth, and algistatic activity as lack of net growth. The acidic fraction did not affect algal growth. The neutral/alkaline fraction showed growth-suppressing and algicidal activities but no signs of algistatic activity – namely, cells in cultures surviving a partial-algicidal exposure concentration (causing transient negative growth) were later able to initiate positive growth but at higher concentrations, algicidal activity was full and irreversible. Gramine suppressed growth more effectively than skatole and at the highest concentration tested, gramine also showed partial-algicidal and algistatic activity. While the partial-algicidal activities of the neutral/alkaline fraction and of gramine were short-lived (≤6 days) and thus may share similar mechanisms, algistatic activity was unique to gramine and persisted for >3 weeks. Given gramine's reported concentration in the neutral/alkaline fraction, its corresponding level of algicidal activity is much lower than the fraction's suggesting the latter contains additional potent algicides. Inhibition of maximum cell density by all test compounds was associated with reductions in exponential growth rate, and in the case of the neutral/alkaline fraction and gramine also reductions in early (pre-exponential) growth. These results indicate that giant reed is a potential source of natural products to control golden alga blooms. Giant reed is an invasive species in North America, thus also providing incentive for research into strategies to couple management efforts for both species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalHarmful Algae
StatePublished - Jan 2018



  • Allelopathy
  • HAB control
  • Indoles
  • Invasive species
  • Natural algicides

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