PCR detection of dinoflagellate cysts in field sediment samples from tropic and temperate environments

Anna Godhe, Ann-Sofi Rehnstam-Holm, Indrani Karunasagar, Iddya Karunasagar

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Species-specific primers were constructed for Scrippsiella trochoidea, Protoceratium reticulatum and Lingulodinium polyedrum, which all are common cosmopolitan cyst forming dinoflagellates. The designed primers amplified a product of expected size from cultured planktonic cells of the three species, and did not yield any product with a wide range of other algal species used as negative controls. The PCR method for detection and identification of dinoflagellate cysts from the three species was applied on field samples. Undisturbed surface sediment was collected along the southwest coast of India and the west coast of Sweden. DNA extract from sediment including DNA from dinoflagellate cysts could be obtained after repeated grinding with mortar and pestle under liquid nitrogen followed by microwave boiling. All sediment samples that contained any of the target species as confirmed by microscopy, were also positive for PCR. Field samples negative for any of the target species by microscopy, were also negative by PCR. Restriction enzyme digestion and/or DNA sequencing confirmed the specificity of all the PCR products from field samples. The yield of DNA from sediment extraction was low, and therefore nested PCR was necessary for accurate species-specific detection of the three species in most of the field samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-373
Number of pages12
JournalHarmful Algae
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Biological Sciences (106)


  • Cyst
  • Dinoflagellate
  • Dinophyceae
  • Field samples
  • PCR
  • Species-specific primers


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