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The Pharmacological Potential of Cyanobacteria
2022, Pages 1-20

Trends in Cyanobacteria: a contribution to systematics and biodiversity studies

Guilherme Scotta Hentschke1, Watson A. Gama Junior2

CIIMAR-Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, Matosinhos, Portugal.


Cyanobacteria emerged on Earth about 2.5 billion years ago and are the morphologically most diverse group amongst prokaryotes and the unique bacteria able to perform oxygenic photosynthesis. Most part of the cyanobacterial biodiversity is found growing in freshwater and terrestrial environments. Also, Cyanobacteria can colonize marine and extreme environments. The secondary metabolites produced by Cyanobacteria have promising bioactivities and can be applicable as pharmaceutical drugs. Currently, Cyanobacteria present 374 genera and among them, 232 genera are already confirmed by molecular tools. The current situation of Cyanobacteria systematics is complicated. Although it is mandatory to describe new genera based on the monophyletic concept of taxa, for higher taxonomical levels, all classifications systems consider para- or polyphyletic orders and subclasses. Based on that, this chapter presents the general aspects and biodiversity of Cyanobacteria and discusses trends in cyanobacterial taxonomy.

Keywords: Microbiology, Cyanobacteria, diversity, morphology, phylogeny, habitats, biotechnology, 16S rDNA.

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