Cyanobacteria also known as blue-green algae are oxygenic photoautotrophs, which evolved ca. 3.5 billion years ago. Because cyanobacteria are rich sources of bioactive compounds, they have diverse industrial applications such as algaecides, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents, hence, their wide use in the agricultural and health sectors. Cyanobacterial secondary metabolites are also important sources of enzymes, toxins, vitamins, and other pharmaceuticals. Polyhydroxy- alkanoates (PHA) which accumulate intracellularly in some cyanobacteria species can be used in the production of bioplastics that have properties comparable to polypropylene and polyethylene. Some cyanobacteria are also employed in bioremediation as they are capable of oxidizing oil components and other complex organic compounds. There are many more possible industrial applications of cyanobacteria such as biofuel, biofertilizer, food, nutraceuticals, and pharmaceuticals. Additionally, the metabolic pathways that lead to the production of important cyanobacterial bioactive compounds are outlined in the chapter along with commercial products currently available on the market.
Part of the book: Cyanobacteria