Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 129, Issue 4, pp 285–294

Entrapment and lysis of the cyanobacterium Phormidium luridum by aqueous colonies of Myxococcus xanthus PCO2

  • Jeffrey C. Burnham
  • Susan A. Collart
  • Barbara W. Highison

DOI: 10.1007/BF00414699

Cite this article as:
Burnham, J.C., Collart, S.A. & Highison, B.W. Arch. Microbiol. (1981) 129: 285. doi:10.1007/BF00414699


A Myxococcus xanthus isolate from a farm drainage ditch, designated strain PCO2, is capable of rapidly inducing lysis of both agar and liquid-grown cultures of the cyanobacterium, Phormidium luridum, var. olivacea. Microscopic studies of the predator-prey interaction demonstrate that lysis of the cyanobacterium occurs within clumps and spherules formed by the cells of M. xanthus PCO2. In the earliest stage, one sees the formation of irregular microclumps of bacteria and cyanobacterial filaments. As these clumps mature, colonies 1 to 6 mm in diameter develops. The center of these densely green colonies contains cyanohacteria in various stages of degradation, while the periphery is almost exclusively a tightly woven mass of myxobacterial cells. Electron microscopy shows that long extrusions from the outer membrane of the M. xanthus PCO2 cells are involved in the formation both of initial clumps and of mature colonial spherules. These extrusions appear to efficiently entangle the cyanobacterial filaments in the culture environment. Predator-to-prey ratios of 1/10, 1/100 and 1/1,000 have resulted in cyanobacterial lysis. Because the entrapment and lysis of P. luridum filaments by M. xanthus PCO2 appears to be independent of any other heterotrophic nutritional requirement, as well as of environmental agitation, this system has potential as a biological control technique for undesirable aquatic cyanobacteria.

Key words

Biological control Cyanobacteria Electron microscopy Entrapment lysis Myxococcus Phormidium Spherule 



transmission electron microscopy


scanning electron microscopy


algae broth


algae broth plus 0.2% tryptone

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey C. Burnham
    • 1
  • Susan A. Collart
    • 1
  • Barbara W. Highison
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyMedical College of Ohio, C. S. 10008ToledoUSA

Personalised recommendations