Cyanobacteria – Gaining Benefit from Non-Axenic Cultures

PI: Dr. Silke Pradella

The phototrophic Cyanobacteria are of outstanding biological importance in terms of their evolutionary history, diverse morphology, (eco-) physiology and capability to produce natural compounds. As primary producers they are engaged in close interactions with heterotrophic microorganisms in nature. Accordingly, it is difficult to obtain pure, axenic cyanobacterial cultures for laboratory investigations.
The Leibniz Institute DSMZ has established a culture collection of Cyanobacteria, currently comprising more than 800 strains from various habitats. The vast majority of the cyanobacterial strains is non-axenic (98%), which widely hinders their characterization using standard microbiological methods as well as genome analysis.
To overcome these methodological challenges, future work will include

  1. analysis of the microbiomes present in the mixed cyanobacterial cultures using 16S rRNA gene amplicon and metagenomic sequencing and
  2. axenisation of cyanobacterial strains of high scientific interest.

With the implementation of these concepts, the Leibniz Institute DSMZ will deliver in-depth characterized cyanobacterial culture of added value to the scientific community.


Selected references:

  1. Will, S.E., Henke, P., Boedeker, C., Huang, S., Brinkmann, H., Rohde, M., Jarek, M.,  Friedl, T., Seufert, S., Schumacher,M., Overmann, J., Neumann-Schaal, M. & Petersen, J. (2019) Day and night: metabolic profiles and evolutionary relationships of six axenic non-marine cyanobacteria. Genome biology and evolution 11.1: 270-294
  2. Marter, P.*, Huang, S.*, Brinkmann, H., Pradella, S., Jarek, M., Rohde, M., Bunk, B. and Petersen, J. (2021) Filling the Gaps in the Cyanobacterial Tree of Life—Metagenome Analysis of Stigonema ocellatum DSM 106950, Chlorogloea purpurea SAG 13.99 and Gomphosphaeria aponina DSM 107014. Genes 12: 389.
    * These authors contributed equally to this work.