Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 1465–1482 | Cite as

Alleviation of NaCl toxicity in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7942 by exogenous calcium supplementation

  • Ekta Verma
  • Sindhunath Chakraborty
  • Balkrishna Tiwari
  • Savita Singh
  • Arun K. Mishra


Salinity (NaCl) is one of the major problems associated with irrigated agricultural lands, especially rice fields. Being the common inhabitants of rice fields, cyanobacteria frequently experience high concentration of NaCl which in turn causes cellular damage. Therefore, mitigation of NaCl stress in cyanobacteria, plant growth-promoting microorganisms, is of utmost importance. The present study was designed to investigate the role of calcium in the alleviation of NaCl stress-induced cellular in Synechococcus sp. PCC 7942. The cyanobacterium was subjected to sub-lethal concentration of NaCl (800 mM) with and without the supplementation of calcium (1 mM CaCl2) for 8 days. The results showed a drastic reduction in growth due to excess NaCl, but supplementation of CaCl2 reduced the salt stress damage and partially restored growth. Application of calcium increased pigment contents, photosynthetic efficiency, antioxidative enzyme activity, osmolyte contents and reduced the intracellular sodium ion concentration, MDA content, electrolyte leakage and free oxygen radical generation. Furthermore, proteins involved in photosynthesis, respiration, ATP synthesis and protein synthesis along with two hypothetical proteins were also observed to be upregulated in the cyanobacterium in presence of calcium. Furthermore, proteins related to oxidative stress defence, nitrogen metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, fatty acid metabolism and secondary metabolism were found to be upregulated by several fold. Therefore, our study suggests that calcium suppresses salt toxicity in Synechococcus sp. PCC 7942 by restricting the entry of Na+ into the cell, increasing osmolyte production and upregulating defence-related proteins.


Calcium Salt stress Osmolyte Photosynthetic efficiency Synechococcus sp. PCC 7942 



We are thankful to the Head, Department of Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, for providing laboratory facilities. We thank Prof. Karl Forchhammer, Department of Organismic Interactions (Microbiology), Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection, Auf der Morgenstelle, 2872076, University of Tübingen, Germany, for providing Synechococcus sp. PCC 7942 strain. Two of us (Ekta Verma and Balkrishna Tiwari) are thankful to the UGC, New Delhi for financial support in the form of SRF.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10811_2018_1410_Fig14_ESM.gif (12 kb)
Fig. S1

Growth of the cyanobacterium estimated in terms of cell density at different NaCl concentrations showing 800 mM as inhibitory concentration for cyanobacterial growth. (GIF 12 kb)

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High resolution image (TIFF 2442 kb)
10811_2018_1410_Fig15_ESM.gif (11 kb)
Fig. S2

Growth of the cyanobacterium estimated in terms of cell density at different CaCl2 concentrations showing 1 mM as optimum concentration for cyanobacterial growth. (GIF 11 kb)

10811_2018_1410_MOESM2_ESM.tif (2.4 mb)
High resolution image (TIFF 2462 kb)
10811_2018_1410_Fig16_ESM.gif (5 kb)
Fig. S3

DCF fluorescence-based G/R ratio of cyanobacterium obtained from fluorescence microscopic analysis under different treatment conditions. (GIF 5 kb)

10811_2018_1410_MOESM3_ESM.tif (300 kb)
High resolution image (TIFF 299 kb)
10811_2018_1410_Fig17_ESM.gif (8 kb)
Fig. S4

The fluorescent intensity of ROS produced in Synechococcus cells under different treatment conditions estimated by fluorescence spectroscopic study of cyanobacterial cells. (GIF 8 kb)

10811_2018_1410_MOESM4_ESM.tif (103 kb)
High resolution image (TIFF 103 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ekta Verma
    • 1
  • Sindhunath Chakraborty
    • 1
  • Balkrishna Tiwari
    • 1
  • Savita Singh
    • 1
  • Arun K. Mishra
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Microbial Genetics, Department of BotanyBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia

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