Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

DNA profiling of complex bacterial populations: toxic cyanobacterial blooms


Cyanobacteria are prokaryotic photosynthetic living organisms that inhabit our planet for over three billion years. With a worldwide distribution, they can be found in all types of environments: fresh, brackish and saltwater as well as terrestrial. Though beneficial in the development of life on earth, they also constitute a serious risk to our ecosystems since they can biologically produce harmful secondary metabolites named cyanotoxins. When studying cyanobacteria and their cyanotoxins, several methodologies have been applied with an increasing relevance to molecular methods. Therefore, the aim of this review is to describe alternative molecular methods that can be used as alternative methods for the identification of cyanobacteria. More traditional chemotaxonomic methods are discussed briefly as are the standard and somewhat dated techniques for assessing genome content for taxonomic classification schemes. The use of DNA amplification technology has been applied to the systematics and phylogeny of many bacterial groups, and the optimisation of methods for rapid identification and classification of cyanobacteria are presented. Together with novel methods developed for these photosynthetic microorganisms, the generated DNA profiles have been utilised to study cyanobacterial bloom population diversity and prediction of strain toxigenicity. Finally, the genotypes found were applied to a variety of phylogenetic analyses; trees were reconstructed and compared to the current morphological system of classification. The ecology and diversity of the cyanobacteria is discussed with respect to the derived molecular phylogenies and systematics.

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

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7


  1. Abed RM, Garcia-Piechel F, Hernandez Marine M (2002) Polyphasic characterization of benthic, moderately halophilic, moderately thermophilic cyanobacteria with very thin trichomes and the proposal of Halomicronema excentricum gen nov, sp nov. Arch Microb 177(5):361–370

  2. Aitken A (1988) Protein sequences as taxonomic probes of cyanobacteria. Meth Enzymol 167:145–154

  3. Akopyanz N, Bukanov NO, Westblom TU, Kresovich S, Berg DE (1992) DNA diversity among clinical isolates of Helicobacter pylori detected by PCR-based RAPD fingerprinting. Nucleic Acids Res 20:5137–5142

  4. Anagnostidis K, Komarek J (1985) Modern approach to the classification system of cyanophytes 1: introduction. Arch Hydrobiol Suppl Algol Suppl 71(38/39):291–302

  5. Apostol BL, Black WC IV, Miller BR, Reiter P, Beaty BJ (1993) Estimation of the number of full sibling families at an oviposition site using RAPD-PCR markers: applications to the mosquito Aedes aegypti. Theor Appl Genet 86:991–1000

  6. Armstrong J, Gibbs A, Peakall, R, Weiller G (1994) The RAPDistance package. lifeanueduau(1502033874)pub/molecular_biology/rapdpackexe

  7. Barry T, Colleran G, Glennon M, Dunican LK, Gannon F (1991) The 16s/23s ribosomal spacer region as a target for DNA probes to identify eubacteria. PCR Methods Appl 1(1):51–56

  8. Belknap WR, Hazelkorn R (1987) Cloning and light regulation of expression of the phycocyanin operon of the cyanobacterium Anabaena. EMBO J 6:871–884

  9. Ben-Amotz A, Tornabene TG, Thomas WH (1985) Chemical profile of selected species of microalgae with emphasis on lipids. J Phycol 21(1):72–81

  10. Bolch CJ, Blackburn SI, Neilan BA, Grewe PM (1996) Genetic characterization of strains of cyanobacteria using PCR-RFLP of the cpcBA intergenic spacer and flanking regions. J Phycol 32:445–451

  11. Boutte C, Balthasart P, Wilmotte A (2006) Testing of primers for the study of cyanobacterial molecular diversity by DGGE. J Microbiol Method 65:542–550

  12. Britschgi TB, Giovannoni SJ (1991) Phylogenetic analysis of a natural marine bacterioplankton population by rRNA gene cloning and sequencing. Appl Environ Microbiol 57:1707–1713

  13. Brosius J, Dull TJ, Sleeter D, Noller HF (1981) Gene organization and primary structure of a ribosomal RNA operon from Escherichia coli. J Mol Biol 148(2):107–127

  14. Bryant DA (1982) Phycoerythrocyanin and phycoerythrin: properties and occurrence in cyanobacteria. J Gen Microbiol 128:835–844

  15. Carmichael WW (1992) Cyanobacteria secondary metabolites—the cyanotoxins. J Appl Bacteriol 72:445–459

  16. Castenholz RW (1992) Species usage, concept, and evolution in the cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). J Phycol 28(6):737–745

  17. Castenholz RW, Waterbury JB (1989) Oxygenic photosynthetic bacteria group I cyanobacteria. In: Staley JT, Bryant MP, Pfenning N, Holt JG (eds) Bergey’s manual of systematic bacteriology, vol 3. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, pp 1710–1728

  18. Caudales R, Wells JM (1992) Differentiation of free-living Anabaena and Nostoc cyanobacteria on the basis of fatty acid composition. Int J Syst Bacteriol 42:246–251

  19. Damerval T, Castets AM, Guglielmi G, Houmard J, Tandeau de Marsac N (1989) Occurrence and distribution of gas vesicle genes among cyanobacteria. J Bacteriol 171(3):1445–1452

  20. De Figueiredo DR, Pereira MJ, Alexandra M, Silva L, Bárrios S, Fonseca F, Henriques I, Correira A (2007) Bacterial community composition over a dry winter in meso-and eutrophic Portuguese water bodies. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 59:638–650

  21. Doers MP, Parker DL (1988) Properties of Microcystis aeruginosa and M. flos-aquae (Cyanophyta) in culture: taxonomic implications. J Phycol 24(4):502–508

  22. Doolittle WF (1982) Molecular evolution. In: Carr NG, Whitton BA (eds) The biology of cyanobacteria, vol 19. University of California Press, Berkeley, pp 307–332

  23. Douglas SE, Carr N (1988) Examination of genetic relatedness of marine Synechococcus spp by using restriction fragment length polymorphisms. Appl Environ Microbiol 54(12):3071–3078

  24. Douglas SE, Turner S (1991) Molecular evidence for the origin of plastids from a cyanobacterium-like ancestor. J Mol Evol 33:267–273

  25. Dubbs JM, Bryant DA (1991) Molecular cloning and transcriptional analysis of the cpeBA operon of the cyanobacterium Pseudanabaena species PCC 7409. Mol Microbiol 5:3073–3085

  26. Erdmann VA, Wolters J, Huysmans E, De Wachter R (1985) Collection of published 5S, 58S and 45S ribosomal RNA sequences. Nucleic Acids Res 13:105–153

  27. Ernst A (1991) Cyanobacterial picoplankton from Lake Constance I. Isolation by fluorescence characteristics. J Plankton Res 13:1307–1312

  28. Fahrenkrug PM, Bett MB, Parker DL (1992) Base composition of DNA from selected strains of the cyanobacterial genus Microcystis. Int J Syst Bacteriol 42:182–184

  29. Falconer IR, Buckley TH (1989) Tumour promotion by Microcystis sp, a blue-green alga occurring in water supplies. Med J Aust 150(6):351

  30. Felsenstein J (1989) PHYLIP phylogeny inference package. Cladistics 5:164–166

  31. Fergusson KM, Saint CP (2003) Multiplex PCR assay for Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii and cylindrospermopsin-producing cyanobacteria. Environ Toxicol 18(2):120–125

  32. Fox GE, Pechman KR, Woese CR (1977) Comparative cataloguing of 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid: molecular approach to prokaryotic systematics. Int J Syst Bacteriol 27:44–57

  33. Francis G (1878) Poisonous Australian lake. Nature 18:11–12

  34. Furukawa K, Noda N, Tsuneda S, Saito T, Itayama T, Inamori Y (2006) Highly sensitive real-time PCR assay for quantification of toxic cyanobacteria based on microcystin synthetase A gene. J Biosci Bioeng 102(2):90–96

  35. Garcia-Piechel F, Lopez-Cortes A, Nubel U (2001) Phylogenetic and morphological diversity of cyanobacteria in soil desert crusts from the Colorado plateau. Appl Environ Microbiol 67(4):1902–1910

  36. Gardes M, White TJ, Fortin JA, Bruns TD, Taylor JW (1991) Identification of indigenous and introduced symbiotic fungi in ectomycorrhizae by amplification of nuclear and mitochondrial ribosomal DNA. Can J Bot 69:180–190

  37. Geiβ U, Schumann R, Bastrop R, Hagemann M, Schoor A (2004) Investigations on cyanobacterial diversity in shallow estuary (Southern Baltic Sea) including genes relevant to salinity resistance and iron starvation acclimation. Environ Microbiol 6:377–387

  38. Gilson E, Clement JM, Brutlag D, Hofnung M (1984) A family of dispersed repetitive extragenic palindromic DNA sequences in E. coli. EMBO J 3:1417–1421

  39. Giovannoni SJ, Turner S, Olsen GJ, Barns S, Lane DJ, Pace NR (1988) Evolutionary relationships among cyanobacteria and green chloroplasts. J Bacteriol 170:3584–3592

  40. Glazer AN (1984) Phycobilisome: a macromolecular complex optimized for light energy transfer. Biochim Biophys Acta Rev Bioenerg 768(1):29–51

  41. Gottlieb LD (1982) Conservation and duplication of isozymes in plants. Science 216:373–380

  42. Hall GC, Flick MB, Gherna RL, Jensen RA (1982) Biochemical diversity for biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids among the cyanobacteria. J Bacteriol 149:65–78

  43. Hamana K, Matsuzaki S (1992) Polyamines as a chemotaxonomic marker in bacterial systematics. CRC Crit Rev Microbiol 18:261–283

  44. Harvey S, Hill CW (1990) Exchange of spacer regions between rRNA operons in Escherichia coli. Genetics 125(4):683–690

  45. Harvey S, Hill CW, Squires C, Squires CL (1988) Loss of the spacer loop sequence from the rrnB operon in the Escherichia coli K-12 subline that bears the relA1 mutation. J Bacteriol 170(3):1235–1238

  46. Herdman M, Janvier M, Waterbury JB, Rippka R, Stanier RY (1979a) Deoxyribonucleic acid base composition of cyanobacteria. J Gen Microbiol 111:63–71

  47. Herdman M, Janvier M, Rippka R, Stanier RY (1979b) Genome size of cyanobacteria. J Gen Microbiol 111:73–85

  48. Hertzberg S, Liaaen-Jensen S, Siegelman HW (1971) The carotenoids of blue–green algae. Phytochemistry 10:3121–3127

  49. Hulton CSJ, Higgins CF, Sharp PM (1991) ERIC sequences: a novel family of repetitive elements in the genomes of Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium and other enterobacteria. Mol Microbiol 5(4):825–834

  50. Iteman I, Rippka R, Tandeau de Marsac N, Herdman M (2000) Comparison of conserved structural and regulatory domains within divergent 16S rRNA–23S rRNA spacer sequences of cyanobacteria. Microbiology 146:1275–1286

  51. Janse I, Meima M, Edwin A, Kardinaal W, Zwart G (2003) High-resolution differentiation of cyanobacteria by using rRNA-internal transcribed spacer denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. Appl Environ Microbiol 69(11):6634–6643

  52. Jorgenson RA, Cluster PD (1988) Modes and tempos in the evolution of nuclear ribosomal DNA: new characters for evolutionary studies and new markers for genetic and population studies. Ann Mol Bot Gard 75:1238–1247

  53. Jungblut A-D, Hawes I, Mountfort D, Hitzfeld B, Dietrich DR, Burns BP, Neilan BA (2005) Diversity within cyanobacterial mat communities in variable salinity meltwater ponds of McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica. Environ Microbiol 7(4):519–529

  54. Kellmann R, Mihali TK, Jeon YJ, Pickford R, Pomati F, Neilan BA (2008) Biosynthetic intermediate analysis and functional homology reveal a saxitoxin gene cluster in cyanobacteria. Appl Environ Microbiol 74(13):4044–4053

  55. Kenyon CN, Rippka R, Stanier RY (1972) Fatty acid composition and physiological properties of some filamentous blue–green algae. Arch Microbiol 83(3):216–236

  56. Kohl JG, Borner T, Henning M, Schwabe W, Weihe A (1988) Plasmid content and differences in ecologically important characteristics of different strains of Microcystis aeruginosa. Arch Hydrobiol Suppl Algol Stud 80(50–53):195–201

  57. Komarek J (1991) A review of water-bloom forming Microcystis species, with regard to populations in Japan. Arch Hydrobiol Suppl Algol Stud 92(64):115–127

  58. Kresovich S, Williams JGK, McFerson JR, Routman EJ, Schaal BA (1992) Characterization of genetic identities and relationships of Brassica oleracea L via random amplified polymorphic DNA assay. Theor Appl Genet 85:190–196

  59. Kurmayer R, Kutzenberger T (2003) Application of real-time PCR for quantification of microcystin genotypes in a population of the toxic cyanobacterium Microcystis sp. Appl Environ Microbiol 69(11):6723–6730

  60. Kurmayer R, Christiansen G, Chorus I (2003) The abundance of microcystin-producing genotypes correlates positively with colony size in Microcystis sp and determines its microcystin net production in Lake Wannsee. Appl Environ Microbiol 69(2):787–795

  61. Lachance MA (1981) Genetic relatedness of heterocystous cyanobacteria by DNA–DNA reassociation. Int J Syst Bacteriol 31:139–147

  62. Lane DJ, Pace B, Olsen GJ, Stahl DA, Sogin ML, Pace NR (1985) Rapid determination of 16S ribosomal RNA sequences for phylogenetic analyses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 82:6955–6959

  63. Lee S, Fuhram JA (1990) DNA hybridization to compare species compositions of natural bacterioplankton assemblages. Appl Environ Microbiol 56(3):739–746

  64. Lindblad P, Haselkorn R, Bergman B, Nierwicki-Bauer SA (1989) Comparison of DNA restriction fragment length polymorphisms of Nostoc strains in and from cycads. Arch Microbiol 152:20–24

  65. Lyra C, Hantula J, Vainio E, Rapala J, Rouhiainen L, Sivonen K (1997) Characterization of cyanobacteria by SDS-PAGE of whole-cell proteins and PCR/RFLP of the 16 S rRNA gene. Arch Microbiol 168:176–184

  66. Martin B, Humbert O, Camara M, Guenzi E, Walker J, Mitchell T, Andrew P, Prudhomme M, Alloing G, Hakenbeck R, Morrison DA, Boulnois GJ, Calerys JP (1992) A highly conserved repeated DNA element located in the chromosome of Streptococcus pneumoniae. Nucleic Acids Res 20(13):3479–3483

  67. Martins J, Saker ML, Moreira C, Welker M, Fastner J, Vasconcelos VM (2009) Peptide diversity in strains of the cyanobacteria Microcystis aeruginosa isolated from Portuguese water supplies. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 82:951–961

  68. Mazel D, Bernard C, Schwarz R, Castets AM, Houmard J, Tandeau de Marsac N (1991) Characterization of two insertion sequences, IS701 and IS702, from the cyanobacterium Calothrix species PCC 7601. Mol Microbiol 5(9):2165–2170

  69. Meyer TE, Cusanovich MA, Kamen MD (1986) Evidence against use of bacterial amino acid sequence data for construction of all-inclusive phylogenetic trees. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 83:217–220

  70. Mihali TK, Kellmann R, Muenchhoff J, Barrow KD, Neilan BA (2008) Characterization of the gene cluster responsible for cylindrospermopsin biosynthesis. Appl Environ Microbiol 74(3):716–722

  71. Moffitt MC, Neilan BA (2004) Characterization of the nodularin synthetase gene cluster and proposed theory of the evolution of cyanobacterial hepatotoxins. Appl Environ Microbiol 70:6353–6362

  72. Muyzer G, Smalla K (1998) Application of denaturating gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and temperature gradient gel electrophoresis (TGGE) in microbial ecology. Ant Van Leew 73:127–141

  73. Muyzer G, DeWall E, Uitterlinden G (1993) Profiling of complex microbial populations by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis of polymerase chain reaction-amplified genes coding for 16S rRNA. Appl Environ Microbiol 59(3):695–700

  74. Navarro E, Simonet P, Norm P, Bardin R (1992) Characterization of natural populations of Nitrobacter spp. using PCR/RFLP analysis of the ribosomal intergenic spacer. Arch Microbiol 157:107–115

  75. Neilan BA (1995) Identification and phylogenetic analysis of toxigenic cyanobacteria by multiplex randomly amplified polymorphic DNA PCR. Appl Environ Microbiol 61(6):2286–2291

  76. Neilan BA, Gurvitz A, Leigh D, Lai LYC, McDonald B (1993) Rapid preparation of limited biological samples for capillary PCR. PCR Methods Appl 2:261–262

  77. Neilan BA, Cox PT, Hawkins PR, Goodman AE (1994a) 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequence and phylogeny of toxic Microcystis sp. (cyanobacteria). DNA Seq 4:333–337

  78. Neilan BA, Leigh D, Rapley E, McDonald B (1994b) Microsatellite genome screening: rapid non-denaturing, non-isotopic dinucleotide repeat analysis. BioTechniques 17(4):708–712

  79. Neilan BA, Jacobs D, Goodman AE (1995) Genetic diversity and phylogeny of toxic cyanobacteria determined by DNA polymorphisms within the phycocyanin locus. Appl Environ Microbiol 61(11):3875–3883

  80. Neilan BA, Jacobs D, Del Dot T, Blackall LL, Hawkins PR, Cox PT, Goodman AE (1997) rRNA sequences and evolutionary relationships among toxic and non-toxic cyanobacteria of the genus Microcystis. Int J Syst Bacteriol 47:693–697

  81. Nollau P, Wagener C (1997) Methods for the detection of point mutations: performance and quality assessment. Clin Chem 43:1114–1128

  82. Nübel UF, Garcia-Pichel MG (1997) PCR primers to amplify 16S rRNA genes from cyanobacteria. Appl Environ Microbiol 63:3327–3332

  83. Olsen GJ, Lane DJ, Giovannoni SJ, Pace NR, Stahl DA (1986) Microbial ecology and evolution: a ribosomal RNA approach. Ann Rev Microbiol 40:337–365

  84. Parker DL (1982) Improved procedures for the cloning and purification of Microcystis cultures (Cyanophyta). J Phycol 18(4):471–477

  85. Rasmussen JP, Giglio S, Monis PT, Campbell RJ, Saint SP (2007) Development and field testing of a real-time PCR assay for cylindrospermopsin-producing cyanobacteria. J Appl Microbiol 104(5):1503–1515

  86. 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

  87. Saitou N, Nei M (1987) The neighbor-joining method: a new method for reconstructing phylogenetic trees. Mol Biol Evol 4:406–425

  88. Saker ML, Vale M, Kramer D, Vasconcelos VM (2006) Molecular techniques for the early warning of toxic cyanobacteria blooms in freshwater lakes and rivers. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 75(2):441–449

  89. Saker ML, Welker M, Vasconcelos VM (2007) Multiplex PCR for the detection of toxigenic cyanobacteria in dietary supplements produced for human consumption. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 73(5):1136–1142

  90. Sato N, Murata N (1981) Studies on the temperature shift-induced desaturation of fatty acids in monogalactosyl diacylglycerol in the blue–green alga (Cyanobacterium), Anabaena variabilis. Plant Cell Physiol 22(6):1043–1050

  91. Schleifer KH, Ludwig W (1989) Phylogenetic relationship among bacteria. In: Fernholm B, Bremer K, Jörnwall H (eds) The hierarchy of life. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 103–117

  92. Schopf W, Packer B (1987) Early Archean (3.3-billion to 3.5-billion-year-old) microfossils from Warrawoona group. Aust Sci 237:70–73

  93. Scott MP, Haymes KM, Williams SM (1992) Parentage analysis using RAPD PCR. Nucleic Acids Res 20(20):5493

  94. Sharples GJ, Lloyd RG (1990) A novel repeated DNA sequence located in the intergenic regions of bacterial chromosome. Nucleic Acids Res 18(22):6503–6508

  95. Shirai N, Ohtake A, Sano T, Matsumoto S, Sakamoto T, Sato A, Aida T, Harada K, Shimada T, Suzuki M (1991) Toxicity and toxins of natural blooms and isolated strains of Microcystis spp. (Cyanobacteria) and improved procedure for purification of cultures. Appl Environ Microbiol 57:1241–1245

  96. Sivonen K, Rouhiainen L, Buikema W, Haselkorn R (1994) In: Proc VIII Int Symp on Photo Prokar, Urbino, Italy, p 28

  97. Smoker JA, Barnum SR (1988) Rapid small-scale DNA isolation from filamentous cyanobacteria. FEMS Microbiol Lett 56:119–122

  98. Stackebrandt E, Ludwig W, Fox GE (1985) 16S ribosomal RNA oligonucleotide sequencing. In: Gottschalk G (ed) Methods in microbiology, vol 18. Academic, New York, pp 75–107

  99. Stam WT (1980) Relationships between a number of filamentous blue–green algal strains (Cyanophyceae) revealed by DNA–DNA hybridisation. Arch Hydrobiol Suppl Algol Stud 56:351–374

  100. Stern MJ, Ames GFL, Smith NH, Robinson EC, Higgins CF (1984) Repetitive extragenic palindromic sequences: a major component of the bacterial genome. Cell 37(3):1015–1026

  101. Stulp BK, Stam WT (1984) Genotypic relationships between strains of Anabaena (Cyanophyceae) and their correlation with morphological affinities. Eur J Phycol 19(3):287–301

  102. Tatsumi K, Watanabe MF, Watanabe M (1991) Allozyme divergence in Anabaena (Cyanophyceae) and its taxonomic inference. Arch Hydrobiol Suppl Algol Stud 92(64):129–140

  103. Tillett D, Dittmann E, Erhard M, Döhren H, Börner T, Neilan BA (2000) Structural organization of microcystin biosynthesis in Microcystis aeruginosa PCC7806: an integrated peptide–polyketide synthetase system. Chem Biol 7(10):753–764

  104. Tomioka N, Sugiura M (1983) The complete nucleotide sequence of a 16S ribosomal RNA gene from a blue-green alga, Anacystis nidulans. Mol Gen Genet 191:46–50

  105. Valério E, Pereira P, Saker ML, Franca S, Tenreiro R (2005) Molecular characterization of Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii strains isolated from Portuguese freshwaters. Harm Alg 4:1044–1052

  106. Valério E, Chambel L, Paulino S, Faria N, Pereira P, Tenreiro R (2009) Molecular identification, typing and traceability of cyanobacteria from freshwater reservoirs. Microbiology 155:642–656

  107. Van Coppenhole B, Watanabe I, Van Hove C, Second G, Huang McCouch SR (1993) Genetic diversity and phylogeny analysis of Azolla based on DNA amplification by arbitrary primers. Genome 36:686–693

  108. Versalovic J, Koeuth T, Lupski JR (1991) Distribution of repetitive DNA sequences in eubacteria and application to fingerprinting of bacterial genomes. Nucleic Acids Res 19(24):6823–6831

  109. Walter MR (1987) In: Schopf JW (ed) The earth's earliest biosphere: its origins & evolution. Princeton University Press, New Jersey, pp 187–212

  110. Ward DM, Weller R, Bateson MM (1990) 16S rRNA sequences reveal numerous uncultured microorganisms in a natural community. Nature 345:63–65

  111. Waterhouse RN, Glover LA (1993) Identification of prokaryotic repetitive DNA suitable for use as fingerprinting probes. Appl Environ Microbiol 59(5):1391–1397

  112. Weeden NF, Higgins RC, Gottlieb LD (1982) Immunological similarity between a cyanobacterial enzyme and a nuclear DNA-encoded plastid specific isozyme from spinach. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 79:5953–5955

  113. Welsh J, McClell M (1990) Fingerprinting genomes using PCR with arbitrary primers. Nucleic Acids Res 18:7213–7218

  114. Widjojoatmodjo MN, Fluit AC, Verhoef J (1994) Rapid identification of bacteria by PCR-single-strand conformation polymorphism. J Clin Microbiol 32(12):3002–3007

  115. Williams JGK, Kubelik AR, Livak KJ, Rafalski JA, Tingey SV (1990) DNA polymorphisms amplified by arbitrary primers are useful as genetics markers. Nucleic Acids Res 18:6531–6535

  116. Wilmotte A (1994) Molecular evolution and taxonomy of the cyanobacteria. In: Bryant DA (ed) The molecular biology of cyanobacteria. Kluwer Academic, Netherlands, pp 1–25

  117. Woese CR (1987) Bacterial evolution. Microbiol Rev 51(2):221–271

  118. Woese CR, Stackebrandt E, Macke TJ, Fox GE (1985) A phylogenetic definition of the major eubacterial taxa. Syst Appl Microbiol 6:143–151

  119. Wood AM, Townsend D (1990) DNA polymorphism within the WH7803 serogroup of marine Synechococcus spp. (Cyanobacteria). J Phycol 26(3):576–585

  120. Zietkiewicz E, Rafalski A, Labuda D (1994) Genome fingerprinting by simple sequence repeat (SSR)-anchored polymerase chain reaction amplification. Genomics 20(2):176–183

Download references


We would like to thank Amanda Goodman, Peter Cox, Peter Hawkins, Daniel Jacobs, Amanda Bass, Julia Stuart, Rachel Turner, Nimal Chandresena, Chris Bolch, Peter Grewe, Sue Blackburn, John Armstrong and Adrian Gibbs for their advice and assistance in the presented research. Financial support was provided by the Australian Research Council, Australian Water Technologies, the CSIRO (Division of Fisheries, Hobart), the CRC for Water Quality and Treatment and FCT-Portugal, PTDC/AMB/67075/2006.

Author information

Correspondence to Vitor Manuel Vasconcelos.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Saker, M., Moreira, C., Martins, J. et al. DNA profiling of complex bacterial populations: toxic cyanobacterial blooms. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 85, 237–252 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-009-2180-8

Download citation


  • Cyanobacteria
  • Toxins
  • DNA profiling