Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 157–169 | Cite as

Antioxidative responses of Nostoc ellipsosporum and Nostoc piscinale to salt stress

  • Maryam Rezayian
  • Vahid NiknamEmail author
  • Mohammad Ali Faramarzi


The responses of the cyanobacteria Nostoc ellipsosporum and Nostoc piscinale to salt stress during various growth stages were studied. Nostoc ellipsosporum was more NaCl tolerant and attained more biomass under salinity than N. piscinale. Accumulation of proline was detected in N. ellipsosporum under salinity stress. Malondialdehyde content decreased in both species on day 9 (mid log phase) under salt stress. A similar trend was detected in hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) content in N. ellipsosporum. Strong induction in catalase (CAT) activity was observed in N. ellipsosporum on day 9 in the presence of salt. The increase in CAT activity of N. piscinale was observed only at higher concentrations of NaCl. In contrast to N. ellipsosporum, induction in peroxidase and polyphenol oxidase (PPO) activities on day 9 was stronger in N. piscinale. Salinity enhanced superoxide dismutase (SOD) and PPO activity in N. ellipsosporum at all growth stages. Moreover, different isoforms of CAT and SOD were detected in these cyanobacteria. Apparently, selection pressure in these cyanobacteria has led to the evolution of SODs and CATs as the main antioxidant enzymes against reactive oxygen species. Phycobiliprotein content in N. ellipsosporum under all conditions was significantly higher than that in N. piscinale. NaCl at moderate concentrations significantly increased phycobiliprotein content in the middle of the log phase in both species. Moreover, contrary to N. piscinale, the size of phycobilisomes [phycoerythrin + phycocyanin / allophycocyanin] in N. ellipsosporum increased significantly under salt stress at the mid of log phase and later. The increase in size of phycobilisomes in N. ellipsosporum could help this species to withstand salt stress by enhancing energy transfer capacity. These results suggest that N. ellipsosporum cells could be better protected against salinity-induced oxidative damage by maintaining higher levels of antioxidative enzymes, proline, and phycobiliproteins than the cells of N. piscinale.


Salt stress Nostoc ellipsosporum Nostoc piscinale Antioxidative enzymes Phycobiliproteins Cyanobacterium 



We thank the editor and two reviewers for constructive comments on the earlier version of this paper.

Author contribution

Maryam Rezayian has contributed in the major bench experiments. Dr. Vahid Niknam and Dr. Mohammad Ali Faramarzi equally designed the experiments, supervised the entire work, and framed the manuscript. All the authors read and approved the manuscript.

Funding information

The financial support of this research was equally provided by College of Science, University of Tehran and Tehran University of Medical Sciences.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maryam Rezayian
    • 1
  • Vahid Niknam
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mohammad Ali Faramarzi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Plant Biology, and Center of Excellence in Phylogeny of Living Organisms in Iran, School of Biology, College of ScienceUniversity of TehranTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biotechnology Research CenterTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran

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