Physiological and Molecular Response of Prorocentrum minimum to Tannic Acid: An Experimental Study to Evaluate the Feasibility of Using Tannic Acid in Controling the Red Tide in a Eutrophic Coastal Water

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 May 14;13(5):503. doi: 10.3390/ijerph13050503.


Bioassay and gene expression experiments were conducted in order to evaluate the growth and physiology of Prorocentrum minimum isolated from a eutrophic coastal water in response to tannic acid. In the bioassay experiments, variations in abundance, chlorophyll (chl) a concentration, maximum fluorescence (in vivo Fm), and photosynthetic efficiency (Fv/Fm) were measured over the course of a seven-day incubation. Moreover, stress-related gene expression in both the control and an experimental (2.5 ppm TA treatment) group was observed for 24 h and 48 h. The molecular markers used in this study were the heat shock proteins (Hsp70 and Hsp90) and cyclophilin (CYP). The findings show that P. minimum can thrive and grow at low concentrations (<2.5 ppm) of tannic acid, and, above this concentration, cells begin to slow down development. In addition, TA concentration of 10 ppm halted photosynthetic activity. At the molecular level, treatment with tannic acid increased the expression of Hsp70, Hsp90, and CYP, and heat shock proteins are more upregulated than the cyclophilin gene. Exposure to tannic acid increased the expression of stress factors over time (48 h) by 10- to 27-fold the expression level of the control group. These results suggest that tannic acid can be used to control harmful algal blooms such as those containing P. minimum in eutrophic coastal waters.

Keywords: Prorocentrum minimum; harmful algal bloom; red tide; tannic acid.

MeSH terms

  • Algal Proteins / genetics
  • Chlorophyll / metabolism
  • Chlorophyll A
  • Cyclophilins / genetics
  • Dinoflagellida / drug effects*
  • Dinoflagellida / genetics
  • Dinoflagellida / metabolism
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Harmful Algal Bloom / drug effects*
  • Photosynthesis / drug effects
  • Tannins / pharmacology*


  • Algal Proteins
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Tannins
  • Chlorophyll
  • Cyclophilins
  • Chlorophyll A