microcystin

noun
mi·​cro·​cys·​tin | \ˌmī-krə-ˈsi-stin \

Definition of microcystin 

: any of various toxins that are produced by freshwater cyanobacteria (genus Microcystis, especially M. aeruginosa), have hepatotoxic effects in animals including humans, and may occur in large quantities and contaminate water supplies during algal blooms (see bloom entry 2 sense 1d) … two water samples from a Toledo treatment plant tested positive for microcystin, a toxin possibly caused by an algae bloom in Lake Erie. Residents were told not to drink, or even boil, the water tainted with microcystin, which can cause nausea and impair liver function.— Lauren Raab When cyanobacteria die, they release microcystin, and scientists have found that remaining cyanobacteria respond to the molecule by making more of their own.— Carl Zimmer

Examples of microcystin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

As the weather warmed, the bloom grew and developed toxins — specifically, the cyanotoxins known as cylindrospermopsin and microcystin. Everton Bailey Jr., OregonLive.com, "1 dead, several injured in 3-car crash near Woodburn," 7 June 2018 On Friday, results from June 25, the latest posted, showed microcystins only at two locations, in Moore Haven and LaBelle, and at much lower levels. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "Massive and toxic algae bloom threatens Florida coasts with another lost summer," 29 June 2018 The toxins, called microcystins, can cause liver damage among other adverse health effects in humans. National Geographic, "250,000 Football Fields of Green Algae Now Cover Lake Erie," 3 Oct. 2017 These blooms can produce a toxin called microcystin, which causes a number of health effects in humans, ranging from rashes and diarrhea to liver damage. Emily Matchar, Smithsonian, "Underwater Robot Labs Monitor Toxins," 10 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'microcystin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of microcystin

1965, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for microcystin

New Latin Microcystis, a species of cyanobacteria (from micro- micro- + Greek kýstis "pouch, bladder") + -in entry 1 — more at cyst

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The first known use of microcystin was in 1965

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