Microcystis species not only produce toxic cyanobacterial blooms, but can be a significant source of taste and odour. Previous studies have associated foul-smelling volatile organic sulfur compounds (VOSCs) with Microcystis blooms, but have largely attributed these compounds to bacterial bloom decomposition. However, earlier reports of the production of isopropylthio compounds by several Microcystis strains suggests that these cyanobacteria may themselves be a source of these VOSCs. Sulphur compounds have been shown to play important semiochemical roles in algal cell protection and grazer interactions in marine systems, but little is known about the production and chemical ecology of freshwater cyanobacterial VOSCs. To address this knowledge gap, we undertook the first detailed investigation of the biochemistry, ecophysiology and semiochemistry of these compounds and their production by Microcystis, and tested the hypothesis that they act as multifunctional semiochemicals in processes related to cell protection and grazer defence. Using short-term incubations and an...

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