Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Sub-Aerial Cyanobacteria: A Survey of Research with Antimicrobial Properties for Pharmaceutical Approaches

Written By

Lakshmi Singh

Submitted: 31 December 2021 Reviewed: 17 January 2022 Published: 09 June 2022

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.102696

From the Edited Volume

Focus on Bacterial Biofilms

Edited by Theerthankar Das

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Cyanobacteria also known as Blue Green Algae (BGA) are widely distributed in environments. Cyanobacteria or BGA commonly being aquatic are also reported from terrestrial ecosystems like sub-aerial surface of temples, monuments and building facades etc., represent their versatile habitats and extremophilic nature. These organisms are the excellent material for primary and secondary metabolites has been investigated by ecologists, physiologists, biochemists and molecular biologists. Scientists and young researchers require knowledge of the potential cyanobacteria and their exploitation in order to formulate effective natural compound or drug remedies. A large number of reports in literature stress have acknowledged the use of Cyanobacteria in pharmaceutical and industries, due to the production of different secondary metabolites with diverse bioactivities. However, very less study is being carried out with respect to exploitation of these sub-aerial Cyanobacteria group for production of different secondary metabolites with biological activities. Since many cyanobacteria are also able to survive most type of stress/and or extreme, they may become even more important as antimicrobial agents of pharmaceuticals in the future. Hence, special attention is paid to these groups of organisms.


  • sub-aerial cyanobacteria
  • extreme environment
  • antimicrobial agents
  • pharmaceutical sector

1. Introduction

The appearances of multi drug resistance among pathogens growing day by day. This could be attributable to prolonged and indiscriminate use of antibiotics and chemotherapeutic agents, over and/or under use of drugs, use of antibiotics without prior knowledge of antibiotic sensitivity pattern of the pathogens, non-completion of dose. In addition, prolonged use of antibiotics and chemotherapeutics results in many side effects too. So there has been a growing demand in search of some new source group of alternative antibiotics. Most of the academicians and researchers all over the world, starting from the ancient age, exploited medicinal and aromatic plants, to a great extent for treatment of diseases and discovery of new antimicrobials or compounds with bioactivities. Based on the complexity in composition, extractions of compounds from microorganisms now are studies again for new antimicrobial compounds. A greater interest has been raised in the field of research towards bioactive compounds from algae. Secondary or primary metabolites of algae consist of diverse groups of chemical compounds. The antibiotic activity of algae has been reported since 1944 [1]. More than 164,784 algae species and infraspecific taxa are reported from all over the world in AlgaeBase whereas, regarding Cyanobacteria, 5152 species have been reported [2]. Among them few have been identified or tested for their efficiency. Algae are sources of amino acid, terpenoids, phlorotannins, steroids, phenolic compounds, halogenated ketones and alkanes and cyclic polysulphides [3]. The natural products from a wide variety of taxa have been isolated and tested for their potential biological activities [4]. Sub-aerial cyanobacteria are one of the important taxa of prokaryotic algae; distributed in extreme habitats need to be explored for their efficiency with respect to bioactivities, as prior research in this area has been inconclusive.

1.1 Cyanobacteria distribution in diverse habitats

Cyanobacteria (BGA) are gram negative photoautotrophic bacteria found in almost all ecological habitats, of aquatic and terrestrial origin. Aquatic forms are abundantly found in both marine and fresh water ecosystems including stagnant water bodies, under running water bodies, lagoons etc. Brackish water bodies also harbor a large number of Cyanobacterial species. Terrestrial habitats, including extreme environments also reflects the tolerance of Cyanobacteria have been reported as biofilms/ or crusts on the exposed surfaces of solid substrata in almost all climatic zones [5]. These organisms grow as epiphytes on tree bark, as epiliths on rocks and stones, and also on anthropogenic surfaces such as facades, concrete floors of roofs and other artificial surfaces of buildings where they cause esthetically unacceptable discolouration of the structures [6]. Such growths are common in humid places on uneven surfaces such as holes, crevices and also on damp building walls due to leaking, roof guttering, inadequate drainage of flat areas or from adjacent water courses. Their adaptation on surfaces of both modern and ancient buildings as well as old monuments represents them as sub-aerial Cyanobacteria/extremophiles since enduring extreme environments. They are particularly abundant in tropics as compared to temperate regions due to their capacity to resist very harsh conditions such as very high temperature, prolonged dry periods, extreme light intensity and UV radiation as they are the prolific producers of secondary metabolites, extracellular glycans, heat shock proteins and, UV pigments such as Mycosporine like amino acids (MAAs) and Scytonemins [7, 8, 9]. This population has been reported to have a characteristics appearance and develop a large number of photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll, carotenoids and phycobiliproteins) including UV - absorbing compounds and pigments which play a key role in their protection and adaptability [10, 11]. These are certain attributes for their colonization and also have of great importance implications in scientific research and for human welfare.

According to literature stresses, the organisms those occur on such substrata mainly consists of coccoid forms of the order Chroococcales (Chroococcidiopsis, Chroococcus, Gloeocapsa, Myxosarcina), filamentous forms of the order Oscillatoriales (Plectonema, Leptolyngbya, Lyngbya, Microcoleus, Oscillatoria, Phormidium, Pseudophormidium, Schizothrix) and Nostocales (Calothrix, Nostoc, Scytonema, Tolypothrix) etc. Several researchers have studied and reported this type of forms from almost all climatic zones. Examples are building facades in Greece [12], buildings in South Eastern, Spain [13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18], building in American countries [19], building facades in France [20, 21], stone monument and building facades in Italy [22, 23, 24, 25], monuments in Portugal [26, 27], monuments in Slovakia [28, 29] and modern/old monuments, India [30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39]. In general, the knowledge on sub-aerial Cyanobacteria diversity colonizing building facades and their exploitation in different applications is still limited. To our knowledge, few reports have been published that deal specifically with the presence of secondary metabolites and pigments of sub-aerial Cyanobacteria and algae isolated from facades of buildings, on structural of cultural heritage and on rock surfaces of different monuments. No systematic scientific approach has been taken yet in India including other countries on this subject. A few research workers have worked on the microorganisms from facades of buildings, cultural heritages and monuments and other material in different parts of the globe [40]. However, no effective chemical or compound which can be employed as an antimicrobial agent from sub-aerial species in Pharmaceutical and Nutraceuticals industries has not yet been reported for which search is on.


2. Bioactive compounds from cyanobacteria

Literature stresses isolation and identification of Cyanobacteria from a diverse environment with bioactivities, but only few research has focused on a variety of bioactive compounds produced by Cyanobacteria after analysis of a great number of marines [41, 42, 43], freshwater [44, 45, 46], terrestrial [47, 48], and hot spring [49, 50]. Cyanobacterial natural products still seem to prevail followed at much lesser proportions by alkaloids, aromatic compounds, cyclic depsipeptides, cyclic peptides, cyclic peptide, cyclophane, fatty acids, linear peptides, lipopeptides, nucleosides, phenols, macrolides, polyketides, polyphenyl ethers, porphinoids and terpenoids [51]. These interesting and biochemically active compounds possess biological activity covering a wide range of antibacterial [52, 53, 54, 55], antifungal [56], antialgal [56], antiviral [57], anticancer effectiveness [58, 59, 60], and immunosuppressive [61] activities. Some bioactive lead compound are bastadin, bis-x-butyrolactone, hapalindole, didehydromirazole, kawaguchipeptin B, muscoride, noscomin, nostocine A, scytophytin, and lipids [62] exhibited with antibacterial activity and, ambiguines, calothrixin, cyanobacterin, fischerindole A, hapalindole, hassallidin, phytoalexin, scytophycin, tjipanazole and Y-lactone [63, 64] with antifungal activity and few compound such as 4,4′-dihydroxybiphenyl, norhamane pyrido (3,4-b)indole, beta-glucan, bacteriocin, ambiguines, parsiguine, scytoscalarol, hapalindole [65] which have been reported to show antimicrobial activity. However, only few of them have been investigated in details [66, 67] are described under this subpoint 2.1. Some known bioactivities as per reported are listed below (Table 1). Thus, screening efforts aimed to identify antimicrobial agents in sub-aerial Cyanobacteria which might reveal promising compounds.

CyanobacteriaBioactive compoundPropertiesBioactivityReferences
Order: Chroococcales
Microcystis aeruginosa
Kawaguchipeptin BIt is an antibacterial cyclic undecapeptideAntibacterial[71]
Chrococcus turgidusBeta-glucanIt is a group of beta-D-glucose polysaccharides, form a linear backbone with 1–3 β-glycosidic bondsAntimicrobial[94]
Order: Nostocales
Scytonema hofmanni PCC7110
ScytophytinIt is a congeneric macrolideAntibacterial[63]
Anabaena sp. BIR JV1 and Anabaena sp. HAN7/1 KP701033HassallidinIt is a glycosylated lipopeptides, an esterified eight residue cyclic peptide bonded with a carbohydrate and fatty acid chain. It is composed of non proteingenic amino acidsAntifungal[63]
Anabaena cf. cylindrica PH133 AJ293110 and Anabaena sp. HAN21/1 KP701032ScytophycinIt is a congeneric macrolideAntifungal[63]
Nostoc sp. CENA 219 KP701037 and Nostoc calcicula 6sf Cale KP701034HassallidinIt is a cyclic glycosylated lipopeptides, contains structural variation of dihydroxy fatty acids and complex glycosylated pattern of monosaccharidesAntifungal[63, 98]
Fischerella ambigua, Haplosiphon hibernicusAmbiguinesIt is isonitrile containing alkaloidsAntibacterial
[72, 73]
Scytonema sp.ScytoscalarolIt is a sesquiterpeneAntibacterial
Tolypothrix sp.HassallidinIt is a Glycosylated lipopeptides, an esterified eight residue cyclic peptide bonded with a carbohydrate and fatty acid chainAntifungal[75]
Scytonema hofmanniY – LactoneThey are cyclic esters of hydroxycarboxylic acids, which contain 1-oxacycloalkan-2-one structure, or analogues having heteroatom replacing one or more carbon atoms of the ringAntifungal[76]
Scytonema mirabileDidehydromirabazoleIt is an alkaloid otherwise known as 4-methylthiazolineAntibacterial[77]
Anabaena bastaBastadinIt is available in many forms but Bastadin 5 is the bioactive compoundAntibacterial[78]
Anabaena variabilisBis - (x -butyrolactone)It acts as an intermediate compound for the synthesis of other chemicals like methyl-2-pyrrolidone and as prodrug for gamma hydroxybutyric acid. Used as recreational drug for humansAntibacterial[79]
Tolypothrix tjipanasensisTjipanazoleIt is compound having the pyrrolo [3, 4 - c] ring of indolo [2, 3 - a] carbazolesAntifungal[80]
Nostoc sp.MuscorideIt is a peptide alkaloid possessing N- (2-methyl-3-buten- 2- yl) valine and two contiguous methyloxazolesAntibacterial[81]
Fischerella muscicolaFischerellin AIt is an allelochemicals compoundAntibacterial
Nostoc communeNostofungicidinIt is a novel lipopeptide fungicide and contains β-amino acid, 3-amino-6-hydroxy stearic acidAntifungal[83]
N. communeNoscominIt is a diterpenoid skeleton, 8 - [(5-carboxy-2 - hydroxy) benzyl]-2-hydroxy - 1, 1, 4a, 7, 8 –pentamethyl - 1, 2, 3, 4, 4a, 6, 7, 8, 8a, 9, 10, 10a dodecahydrophenanthreneAntibacterial[84]
Nostoc spongigaeforme TISTR 8169Nostocine AIt is a violet color nitrogen rich alkaloid with rare heterocyclic structure.Antibacterial[85]
Fischerella muscicolaFischerindole LIt is an isonitrile tetracyclic allelochemicalsAntibacterial
[86, 88]
Fischerella ambiguaParsiguineIt is a cyclic polymer, oxygenated ethylenic compoundAntibacterial
Scytonema ocellatumScytophycinIt is a phenolic compound, macrolide polyketidesAntibacterial
Scytonema pseudohofmanniScytophytinIt is a congeneric macrolideAntibacterial[90]
Scytonema hofmanniCyanobacterinIt is a phenolic compoundAntifungal[91]
Nostoc sp.Cyanobacterin LU-1 and LU- 2It contains a nitrous heterocycle with sugar and phenolic substituentsAntifungal[92]
Calothrix sp.Calothrixine AIt is an alkaloid compoundAntifungal[92]
Fischerella sp.12-epi-Hapalindole E isonitrileThese are polycyclic bioactive compoundsAntifungal[92]
Fischerella sp.HapalindoleIt is polycyclic, isothiocyanate bioactive compoundsAntibacterial[93]
Nostoc CCC537HapalindoleIt is a polycyclic ring bioactive compoundAntibacterial[93]
Nostoc sp. 78–11 A-EBacteriocinIt is a proteinaceous or peptide toxinsAntimicrobial[96]
Nostoc insulare 54.794,4′-dihydroxybiphenylIt is a phenolic compoundAntibacterial
Nodularia harveyanaNorhamane pyrido (3,4-b) indoleIt is a prototype of β -carboline and nitrogen heterocycleAntibacterial
Anabaena oryzaPentadecaneIt is a constitution of diacetone alcohol and mesityl oxide as major componentsAntibacterial
Stigeonema ocellatum(3E)-3-Icosene, (Z)-14-Tricosenyl formate, 6- Octen-1-ol 3,7-dimethyl- acetate and 9-Hexadecenoic acid octadecyl esterIt is a constitution of diacetone alcohol, mesityl oxide and heptadecane as major componentsAntibacterial
Order: Oscillatoriales
Oscillatoria sp.
m-Xylene, 2,6,10,14-Tetramethylheptadecane, 2-Ethoxy2-methylbutane, propanedioic acid dimethyl ester, hexaethylene glycol dimethyl ether, propylene glycol trimer 3 and phthalic acid mono-(2-ethylhexyl) esterIt is a constitution of diacetone alcohol, acetic acid butyl ester and mesityl oxide as major componentsAntibacterial
Synechococcus sp., strain GFB016-pentadecanol and octadecyl acetateIt is a volatiles organic compoundAntibacterial

Table 1.

Bioactive molecules or compound produced by various cyanobacteria on database.

2.1 Bioactive compounds and its inhibitory activity with actions

Earlier reports indicate that bioactive compounds contradict synthetic drugs in their composition and their arrangement of radicals and atoms. However, their inhibitory activities are much more depends on the nature of interaction between donor and target organisms. They may inhibit growth or photosynthesis, kill the competitor or exclude it from the donor vicinity, may be potent in inhibiting protein–protein interactions resulting in effective immune response, signal transduction; mitosis and ultimately apoptosis without causing much harm to living organisms [68, 69]. A large number of novel antimicrobial agents have been identified with antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal activities globally represented in (Table 1). However, few compounds like ambiguines, calothrixine A, cyanobacterin, fischerindole L, hapalindole, hassallidin, muscoride, noscomin, nostocine, phytoalexin, scytophycin, scytoscalorol and tjipanazole etc., either synthetized by ribosomal pathways or by non-ribosomal pathways [70] have attained importance for their antimicrobial activity in the field of pharmaceutical sector. Most of the cyanobacteria bioactive compound reported here are generally soluble in organic solvents and with low molecular weight. With respect to their mode of action, a relatively limited number of compounds have been studied or identified based on growth inhibition against target organisms. Kawaguchipeptin B, an antibacterial cyclic undecapeptide isolated from the cultured cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa (NIES-88) showed antibacterial activity by growth inhibition towards gram positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus at a concentration of 1 μg/mL (MIC) [71]. Ambiguines reported from Fischerella ambigua and Haplosiphon hibernicus was found to inhibit bacteria like Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Bacillus anthracis, and fungi such as Aspergillus oryzae, Candida albicans, Penicillium notatum, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Trichophyton mentagrophytes [72, 73, 74]. Hassallidin reported with various types (hassallidin A, hassallidin B, hassallidin D, hassallidin 12, hassallidin 14 and hassallidin 15) from three different species, Tolypothrix, Anabaena strain (BIR JV1 and HAN7/1) and Nostoc strain (6sf Calc and CENA 219) showed as a potent antifungal agent against Aspergillus fumigatus and C. albicans [75] through inhibiting growth. Similarly, many other compounds such as gamma lactone from Scytonema hofmanni [76], didehydromirabazole from Scytonema mirabile [77], bastadin and Bis-x-butyrolactones from Anabaena basta and A. variabilis [78, 79], tjipanazole from T. tjipanasensis [80], muscoride from Nostoc muscorum [81], fischerellin A produced by Fischerella muscicola [82], nostofungicidin, noscomin and nostacine A from Nostoc commune and Nostoc spongigaeforme TISTR 8169 against Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Escherichia coli [83, 84, 85], fischerindole L and Parsiguine from Fischerella muscicola and Fischerella ambigua [86, 87, 88], and Scytophycins from Scytonema pseudohofmanni, S. hofmanni PCC7110, Nostoc sp. HAN11/1 and Anabaena cf. cylindrica (BIR JV1 and HAN7/1) [89, 90] are demonstrated with antibacterial /or antifungal activity based on growth inhibition but the type of target organisms and mode of action is unclear. However, few compounds have been shown to exhibit their mode of action through inhibition of photosystem - II, or enzyme or nucleic acid synthesis and/ or cellular paralysis. Phytoalexin from Scytonema 0cellatum exhibited inhibition of fungal enzymes and mycelial growth including cytoplasmic granulation, disorganization of the cellular contents and rupture of the plasma membrane of fungi like Aspergillus oryzae, C. albicans, Penicillium notatum and S. cerevisiae [89]. Cyanobacterin from Scytonema hofmanni and Nostoc sp., both found to inhibit the photosystem II-mediated photosynthetic electron transfer [91, 92]. Calothrixine A from Calothrix sp., as antifungal activity leads to growth inhibition because of RNA synthesis inhibition [92]. Two alkaloids, hapalindole a polycyclic isothiocyanate and 12-epi-hapalindole E isonitrile from Fisherella sp., and Nostoc CCC537 have pointed to inhibition towards bacteria (Bacillus subtilis, M. tuberculosis H37Rv, S. aureus ATCC25923, Salminella typhi MTCC3216, Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC27853, E. coli ATCC25992 and Enterobacter aerogenes MTCC2822) and fungi (C. albicans) based on RNA polymerase, DNA and protein synthesis [92, 93]. β-glucans, a beta-D-glucose polysaccharides from Chrococcus turgidis exhibited phagocytic activity and resistance towards B. subtilis, E. coli, P. aeruginosa and S. aureus and have shown chronic wound healing activity either directly or indirectly by modulating the activity of diverse cells and growth factors to reparative process [94, 95]. Bacteriocin, an antimicrobial protein/or peptide toxin isolated from Nostoc sp. 78–11 A-E found to be inhibits protein and its actions against bacteria and cyanobacteria [96]. Other bioactive molecules like 4–4′-dihydroxybiphenyl (Nostoc insulare 54, 79), Norhamane pyrido (3,4-b) indole (Nodularia harveyana), Pentadecane (Anabaena oryzae), 6-pentadecanol and octadecyl acetate (Synechococcus strain), m-Xylene, 2,6,10,14-Tetramethylheptadecane, 2-Ethoxy2-methylbutane, propanedioic acid dimethyl ester (Oscillatora sp.), hexaethylene glycol dimethyl ether, propylene glycol trimer 3 and phthalic acid mono-(2-ethylhexyl) ester, (3E)-3-Icosene, (Z)-14-Tricosenyl formate (Stigonema ocellatum), 6- Octen-1-ol 3,7-dimethyl- acetate and 9-Hexadecenoic acid octadecyl ester [97, 98, 99, 100] are reported with activity, although the mode of that action is still unknown.


3. Bioactivity of sub-aerial cyanobacteria

Many sub-aerial Cyanobacteria are known to tolerate environmental extremes as they possess a great capacity for producing biologically active compounds. Researchers are in believe that more harsh and extreme conditions lead to a wider production of a diverse range of more or less, specific substances thus pointing towards these organisms as brilliant candidates for antimicrobial properties. A few numbers of sub-aerial cyanobacteria compounds are found to inhibit the target organisms, making them an attractive source of antimicrobial agents. Some known bioactivities from ten sub-aerial cyanobacteria as per reported are listed below (Table 2). The chloroform fraction of Scytonema br1 isolated from wall and Terrace, Konark Temple, Puri, Odisha showed significant anticyanobacterial activity against Anabaena BT2 and Nostoc pbr01 and antialgal activity against a green alga Bracteacoccus [55]. The lipids extract from Toxopsis calypsus and Phormidium melanochroun isolated from caves established good antibacterial activity against Enterococcus faecium (VRE), Enterococcus faecalis (ATCC) and S. aureus (MRSA) by disrupting cellular membranes [101]. Another study reported the chloroform extracts of Scytonema hofman isolated from building facades showed antibacterial activity against E. coli, followed by Klebsiella pneumonia and P. aeruginosa, S. aureus [102]. There is a report that acetone extract of sub-aerial species, Scytonema ocellatum isolated from sub-aerial habitats exhibits antibacterial activity towards E. coli, B. subtilis and S. aureus and GC analysis showed 98% and 95.6% purity antibiosis [103]. The sub-aerial Cyanobacteria Anabaena sp. (VBCCA 052002) as dominant species on terracotta monuments of Bishnupur showed highest antibacterial activity against S. aureus, Salmonella typhimurium and E. coli with a MIC value of 100 μg/ml against S. aureus and 150 μg/ml against S. typhimurium [104]. In another study reported three different type of bioactive compounds such as 2, 4-Bis (2-methyl-2-propanyl) phenol - phosphorous acid (C42H69O6P:Mw- 700 g/mol) as phenolic, and other two compound Ergost-5-en-3-ol (C28H38O4: Mw-704 g/mol) and 7, 11-dihydroxysolasodine (C27H43NO4: Mw-413 g/mol) as steroidal alkaloid from three sub-aerial cyanobacteria species, Tolypothrix rechingeri, Scytonema hyalinum and Scytonema ocellatum respectively which exhibiting antimicrobial activity against E. coli, P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, C. albicans and Epidermaphyton flocossum etc. [105]. Out of ten, one of the sub-aerial cyanobacteria, Fischerella sp. (NCBI Accession number MN593556) reported with most potent active compound with Rf value 0.96 of acetone fraction showed complete growth inhibition against E. coli and moderate activity to C. albicans, was identified as, Iron (2+) amino (cyclopenta 2,4 diene-1-ylidine) methanolate 1,2,3,4,5-pentaphenycyclopenta-2.4, dien-1-ide (Pentaphenyl ferrocene carboxamide), C41H31FeNO: Mw-610 g/mol and was found to be non-toxic against cells lines of Catla thymus macrophage and osteoblast precursor cell line of Mus musculus up to 72 hours, with a concentration range of 0.875 - 4 mg/ml indicated their potentiality for development of new antimicrobial compounds [106].

Building materialsCyanobacteriaBioactive compoundsPropertiesReferences
Terrace wall, TempleScytonema br1Anticyanobacterial
Rock (Cave)Toxopsis calypsus
Phormidium melanochroun
LipidIt is constitutions of different class of lipids like glycolipids, sphingolipids, sterol lipids, glycerolipids etc.[101]
Limewashed wall (Building)Scytonema hofmanAntibacterial[102]
Cement wall (Building)Scytonema ocellatumAntibacterial[103]
Terracotta wall (Monument)Anabaena sp. (VBCCA 052002)Antibacterial[104]
Stone carving (Temple)Tolypothrix rechingeri2, 4-Bis (2-methyl-2-propanyl) phenol - phosphorous acidIt is phenolic compound[105]
Rock (Cave)Scytonema hyalinumErgost-5-en-3-ol and 7It is a steroidal alkaloid[105]
Cement wall (Building)S. ocellatum11-dihydroxysolasodineIt is a steroidal alkaloid[105]
Cement wall (Building)Fischerella sp. (Accession Number -MN593556)Pentaphenyl ferrocene carboxamideIt is a heterocyclic alkaloid[106]

Table 2.

Bioactive molecules or compound produced by various sub-aerial cyanobacteria on database.


4. Sub-aerial Cyanobacteria: as a source of antimicrobial compounds towards pharmaceutical approaches.

In modern research, a number of significant advancements have been made in Cyanobacterial pharmacologically active compounds from natural resources like marine, freshwater, and very few terrestrial etc., and has received ever increasing interest. A large number of antibiotic compounds, many with novel structures, have been isolated and characterized, but few compounds such as dolastatins, soblidotin, Tasidotin, cryptophycin, curacin D and micropeptins exhibited very interesting results and successfully reached Phase II and Phase III of clinical trials [107, 108, 109, 110, 111]. Isolation of these compounds from cyanobacteria species like Symploca sp., Nostoc sp., and Lyngbya majuscule offers great opportunity and a platform for the discovery of anticancer and antitumor agents. Furthermore, a few have focused on baseline information for promoting the use of cyanobacterial bioactive compounds as drugs using the computational approach. They can be profitable to mankind in multidirectional ways and probably they constitute a principal group of organisms for biotechnological exploitation, especially for valuable products, processes and services, with significant impact in food and pharmaceutical industries as well as in public health. However, still the active principles and their mode of action are yet unknown in most cases. Since there is a direct need for an alternate antimicrobial drug due to the emergence of multi drug resistant pathogens throughout the Globe, as one of the major concerns. Literature stresses the study of emerald compound of algae including Cyanobacteria having antimicrobial property. The search of new active substances with antimicrobial activity from Sub-aerial Cyanobacteria (BGA) of extreme environments, form a major group among algae too are the potential and promising candidates. It is of its kind to mention here that, In the past [33] a number of sub-aerial Cyanobacteria from old temples, monuments, caves, building facades were isolated to accelerate their survival strategies and control mechanisms; only few made an effort for their bioactivity [55]. Few are proved to be antiviral drug, anticancer drug, antibacterial drug and or antifungal drug too [112, 113]. In this review, ten major activities of sub-aerial cyanobacteria have been listed from the literature (anticyanobacterial, antialgal, antibacterial and antimicrobial activities) as describe in Table 2. However, to the best of knowledge these sub-aerial Cyanobacteria of unique environment are not explored for their biotechnological applications in terms of bioactivities and/or antimicrobial activities to find out their possible use in pharmaceuticals for development of new antimicrobial compounds which need to be further analyzed.


5. Conclusion

Nowadays, the production of secondary metabolites from extreme enduring cyanobacteria has catapulted this group of organisms into the midst of intense research. The survival strategies of cyanobacteria to various stress fixed secondary metabolites sources in term of growth, physiology and different metabolic processes are of great interest as they able to secrete different metabolites with environmental stress and ability for their adaptation to extreme environments. No systematic scientific approach has been taken yet on secondary metabolite with their antimicrobial properties from sub-aerial cyanobacteria in India or other countries on this subject. A few research workers have worked on the bioactive compound and their approaches in pharmaceutical sectors of these sub-aerial cyanobacteria to represent as a new source of biologically active compounds in the form of secondary metabolites with production of different antimicrobial compounds, further more studies are desired to find its way for use in pharmaceutical industries, for development of newer antimicrobials, against costly harmful antibiotics and chemotherapeutics, in order to enjoy the benefits and/or the fruits of this investigation for future uses. However, this knowledge may be important in developing strains of sub-aerial cyanobacteria with higher efficiency for antimicrobial properties.


Conflicts of interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.



No funding was received for this contribution.


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Written By

Lakshmi Singh

Submitted: 31 December 2021 Reviewed: 17 January 2022 Published: 09 June 2022