Antimicrobial activity of crude extracts of cyanobacteria Nostoc commune and Spirulina platensis

Farag A. Shaieb, Ahmed Abdel-Salam Issa, Ahmad Meragaa


Cyanobacteria inhabit a range of diverse and extreme habitats and have potential to produce an elaborate array of secondary metabolites with unusual structures and potent bioactivity. Libya is well known as an area of high biological diversity. In our study, fifteen cyanobacteria from the natural area were isolated and screened for their antimicrobial activities. Cyanobacteria were extracted in water and ethanol, and tested for antimicrobial activity against seven bacteria (Serratia, Escherichia, Bacillus, Micrococcus, Staphylococcus, Klebsiella and Pseudomonas) and Aspergillus flavus for antifungal activity. Aqueous and ethanol extracts of the blue green alga Anabaena circinalis exhibited antibacterial activity against Serratia marcescens and Escherichia coli, however it has activity against Klebsiella pneumoniae and the fungus Aspergillus flavus using only ethanol extracts. Also, the Nostoc commune exhibited significant activity against E. coli, S. marcescens and Bacillus cereus in addition to K. pneumoniae and Micrococcus luteus. The other blue green alga Nostoc muscorum has wide range activity on bacteria Gram-positive bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, M. luteus and B. cereus) and Gram-negative bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa, K. pneumoniae and S. marcescens) in addition to the fungus A. flavus. As regards the dominant species of cyanobacteria Spirulina platensis under investigation, the aqueous extract of Spirulina platensis has antibacterial activity against all species tested except B. cereus and P. aeruginosa. They exhibited significant activity against S. aureus, E. coli, S. marcescens, B. cereus, K. pneumoniae and M. luteus, in addition to the fungus A. flavus. Therefore, two cyanobacteria may be useful in various applications and used as basic knowledge for further investigations.


Cyanobacteria; Bacteria; Fungi; Antibacterial activity

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