Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Large-scale determination of cyanobacterial susceptibility to antibiotics and inorganic ions

  • 130 Accesses

  • 6 Citations


Susceptibility of 3 cyanobacterial strains to 19 inorganic compounds and 17 antibiotics was tested by using the dilution technique in microtiter plates and agar diffusion technique, respectively. Generally, the toxicity of inorganic salts to cyanobacteria could be classified as high (Hg, Ag, Cu, Co, Cd, Ni), intermediate (U, Pb, Al, Te, As (III), Mn) and low (As(V), Mo). Other salts (Zn, Cr, Ge, Sb, B) showed strain to strain differences in toxicity patterns. Except streptomycin, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, amikacin, furazolidone (inhibition of all strains) and sulphanilamide (no inhibition) all other antibiotics showed differences of inhibition patterns. A spontaneous increase of resistance to As(V) and cross resistances to antibiotics and inorganic ions were indicated culturing strains in media with low levels of arsenate or mercuric ions. Antibiotic-resistant clones were isolated from inhibition zones. In conclusion, the results obtained with both methods are a good basis for further more detailed studies.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Asato Y, Ginoza HS (1973) Separation of small circular DNA molecules from the blue-green alga Anacystis nidulans. Nature New Biol 244:132–133

  2. Bopp LH, Chakrabarty AM, Ehrlich HL (1983) Chromate resistance plasmid in Pseudomonas fluorescens. J Bacteriol 155: 1105–1109

  3. Duncan DW, Walden CC, Trussell PC, Lowe EA (1967) Recent advances in the microbiological leaching of sulfides. Trans Soc Mining Eng Aime 238:1–7

  4. Hedges RW, Baumberg S (1973) Resistance to arsenic compounds conferred by a plasmid transmissible between strains of Escherichia coli. J Bacteriol 115: 459–460

  5. Hondel CAMJJ van den, Keegstra W, Borrias WE, Arkel GA van (1979) Homology of plasmids in strains of unicellular cyanobacteria. Plasmid 2: 323–333

  6. Kostyaev VYa (1980) Effect of some heavy metals on cyanobacteria. Microbiol 49:665–667

  7. Lau RH, Doolittle WF (1979) Covalently closed circular DNA in closely related unicellular cyanobacteria. J Bacteriol 137:648–652

  8. Lau RH, Sapienza C, Doolittle WF (1980) Cyanobacterial plasmids: their widespread occurence, and the existence of regions of homology between plasmids in the same and different species. Mol Gen Genet 178:203–211

  9. Laube VM, McKenzie CN, Kushner DJ (1980) Strategies of response to copper, cadmium and lead by a blue-green and a green alga. Can J Microbiol 26:1300–1311

  10. Lowry OH, Rosebrough NJ, Farr AL, Randall RJ (1951) Protein measurement with the Folin phenol reagent. J Biol Chem 193: 265–275

  11. Luli GW, Talnagi JW, Strohl WR, Pfister RM (1983) Hexavalent chromium-resistant bacteria isolated from river sediments. Appl Environ Microbiol 46: 846–854

  12. Malanchuk JL, Gruendling GK (1973) Toxicity of lead nitrate to algae. Water A S P 2: 181–190

  13. Massalski A, Laube VM, Kushner DJ (1981) Effects of cadmium and copper on the ultrastructure of Ankistrodesmus braunii and Anabaena 7120. Microb Ecol 7: 183–193

  14. Nakahara H, Ishikawa T, Sarai Y, Kondo I, Mitsuhashi S (1977) Frequency of heavy. metal resistance in bacteria from inpatients in Japan. Nature 266: 165–167

  15. Novick RP, Roth C (1968) Plasmid-linked resistance to inorganic salts in Staphylococcus aureus. J Bacteriol 95: 1335–1342

  16. Rippka R, Deruelles J, Waterbury JB, Herdman M, Stanier RY (1979) Generic assignments, strain histories and properties of pure cultures of cyanobacteria. J Gen Microbiol 111: 1–61

  17. Rippka R, Waterbury JB, Stanier RY (1981) Isolation and purification of cyanobacteria: some general principles, p 212–220 In: MP Starr, H Stolp, HG Trüper, A Balows and HG Schlegel (eds) The Prokaryotes. Springer, Berlin-Heidelberg-New York pp 2284

  18. Silver S, Schottel J, Weiss A (1976) Bacterial resistance to toxic metals determined by extrachromosomal R factors, p 899–917 In: JM Sharpley and AM Kaplan (eds) Proceedings of the 3rd International Biodegradation Symposium. Applied Science Publications, London

  19. Singh SP, Pandey AK (1982) Cadmium-mediated resistance to metals and antibiotics in a cyanobacterium. Mol Gen Genet 187: 240–243

  20. Smith HW (1977) Mobilization of nonconjugative tetracycline, streptomycin, spectinomycin and sulphonamide resistance determinants of Escherichia coli. J Gen Microbiol 100: 189–196

  21. Smith HW, Parsell Z, Green P (1978) Thermosensitive antibiotic resistance plasmids in enterobacteria. J Gen Microbiol 109:37–47

  22. Stratton GW, Corke CT (1979a) The effect of cadmium ion on the growth, photosynthesis and nitrogenase activity of Anabaena inaequalis. Chemosphere 5: 277–282

  23. Stratton GW, Corke CT (1979b) The effect of nickel on the growth, photosynthesis and nitrogenase activity of Anabaena inaequalis. Can J Microbiol 25: 1094–1099

  24. Summers AO, Jacoby GA (1977) Plasmid-determined resistance to tellurium compounds. J Bacteriol 129: 276–281

  25. Tuovinen OH, Niemelä SI, Gyllenberg HG (1971) Tolerance of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans to some metals. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 37: 489–496

  26. Wolk CP, Vonshak A, Kehoe P, Elhai J (1984) Construction of shuttle vectors capable of conjugative transfer from Escherichia coli to nitrogen-fixing filamentous cyanobacteria. Proc Natl Acad Sci US 81: 1561–1565

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Michael G. Lorenz.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lorenz, M.G., Krumbein, W.E. Large-scale determination of cyanobacterial susceptibility to antibiotics and inorganic ions. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 20, 422–426 (1984).

Download citation


  • Arsenate
  • Tetracycline
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Amikacin
  • Inorganic Salt