Antibiotic activity of new cyanobacterial isolates from Australia and Asia against green algae and cyanobacteria

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One hundred and ninety-eight cyanobacterial strains, newly isolated mainly from samples collected from diverse habitats in Australia, Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam, were screened from their antibiotic activity against green algal species of the genera Coelastrum, Scenedesmus and Monoraphidium. We report the discovery of ten strains of Fischerella, seven of Nostoc and three of Calothrix that produce antialgal compounds with a broad activity spectrum. Some of these bioactive cyanobacteria inhibited all three algae, whereas others inhibited only two, and some only one. In addition, the 20 active strains were tested against other selected cyanobacteria, including Anabaena doliolum which grows well both photoautotrophically in light and heterotrophically in darkness, and three toxic species, Microcytis aeruginosa, Anabaena circinalis and Nodularia spumigena, which are problems in Australia and other parts of the world. At least one Fischerella strain had bioactivity directed against photosynthetic electron transport of algal chloroplasts, whereas others had no effect on photosynthesis. In most cases the growth inhibitory effects were also tested in the presence of a proteinase. The results are discussed in the light of the possible nature of the chemical inhibition and also in relationship to competition and allelopathy in algal populations.

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