Cyanobacteria are a diverse group of photosynthetic bacteria found in marine, freshwater and terrestrial habitats. Secondary metabolites are produced by cyanobacteria enabling them to survive in a wide range of environments including those which are extreme. Often production of secondary metabolites is enhanced in response to abiotic or biotic stress factors. The structural diversity of secondary metabolites in cyanobacteria ranges from low molecular weight, for example, with the photoprotective mycosporine-like amino acids to more complex molecular structures found, for example, with cyanotoxins. Here a short overview on the main groups of secondary metabolites according to chemical structure and according to functionality. Secondary metabolites are introduced covering non-ribosomal peptides, polyketides, ribosomal peptides, alkaloids and isoprenoids. Functionality covers production of cyanotoxins, photoprotection and antioxidant activity. We conclude with a short introduction on how secondary metabolites from cyanobacteria are increasingly being sought by industry including their value for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.
Part of the book: Secondary Metabolites