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Cyanobacteria Collection

Muriel Gugger

Cyanobacteria are oxygenic photosynthetic prokaryotes that contribute largely to the balance between CO2 and O2 in the atmosphere. Adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions, they colonize most ecosystems. In continental and marine water bodies, the abundance of bloom-forming representatives disrupts the equilibrium of these environments and the potentially associated cyanotoxins may be harmful to animals and Man.

Created in July 2009, the Collection of Cyanobacteria houses the Pasteur Culture Collection of Cyanobacteria (PCC) and continues its different service activities (acquisition and preservation of the organisms; sales of strains and consultation). This biological resource is also used for our research programs, concerning the biodiversity of cyanobacteria, the other on the diversity of the secondary metabolites, particularly cyanotoxins, produced by these microorganisms.

Biodiversity of cyanobacteria. The cyanobacterial collection of the PCC comprises more than 750 axenic strains isolated from very diverse habitats. The sequencing of the 16S rDNA of the majority of the PCC strains has been achieved (Coll. Génoscope, Evry), and permitted to select reference strains for several on-going genomic projects in which the Collection of Cyanobacteria is actively involved (collaborations with Génoscope, Evry; BMGE, IP; DOE-JGI, Berkeley, California and University of Düsseldorf, Germany).

Cyanobacteria produce a large variety of NRPS/PKS metabolites, some of which are toxic. Several PCC toxin producers have already been studied. We shall extend these studies by investigating more strains from the PCC as well as new isolates from tropical marine environments, in order to get deeper insights into the diversity and evolution of these non-ribosomally produced metabolites (ANR CES ARISTOCYA; collaborations with Génoscope, Evry and University of Helsinki).