, Volume 249, Issue 3, pp 651–661 | Cite as

Chemotaxonomy of heterocystous cyanobacteria using FAME profiling as species markers

  • Ekta Shukla
  • Satya Shila Singh
  • Prashant Singh
  • Arun Kumar Mishra
Original Article


The fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) analysis of the 12 heterocystous cyanobacterial strains showed different fatty acid profiling based on the presence/absence and the percentage of 13 different types of fatty acids. The major fatty acids viz. palmitic acid (16:0), hexadecadienoic acid (16:2), stearic acid (18:0), oleic acid (18:1), linoleic (18:2), and linolenic acid (18:3) were present among all the strains except Cylindrospermum musicola where oleic acid (18:1) was absent. All the strains showed high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFAs; 41–68.35%) followed by saturated fatty acid (SAFAs; 1.82–40.66%) and monounsaturated fatty acid (0.85–24.98%). Highest percentage of PUFAs and essential fatty acid (linolenic acid; 18:3) was reported in Scytonema bohnerii which can be used as fatty acid supplement in medical and biotechnological purpose. The cluster analysis based on FAME profiling suggests the presence of two distinct clusters with Euclidean distance ranging from 0 to 25. S. bohnerii of cluster I was distantly related to the other strains of cluster II. The genotypes of cluster II were further divided into two subclusters, i.e., IIa with C. musicola showing great divergence with the other genotypes of IIb which was further subdivided into two groups. Subsubcluster IIb1 was represented by a genotype, Anabaena sp. whereas subsubcluster IIb2 was distinguished by two groups, i.e., one group having significant similarity among their three genotypes showed distant relation with the other group having closely related six genotypes. To test the validity of the fatty acid profiles as a marker, cluster analysis has also been generated on the basis of morphological attributes. Our results suggest that FAME profiling might be used as species markers in the study of polyphasic approach based taxonomy and phylogenetic relationship.


Cyanobacteria Fatty acids FAME Euclidean distance Linolenic acid 



We are thankful to CSIR and DST, New Delhi, India for financial assistance. The head of the Department of Botany, BHU, Varanasi, India is gratefully acknowledged for providing laboratory facilities. Thanks are also due to Dr. R. Prasanna, senior scientist; Dr. S. Pabby, principal scientist; and Brahm Dutt, technical assistant, IARI, PUSA, New Delhi for constant and necessary help during FAME analysis. The authors also thank Advanced Instrumentation Research Facility, JNU, New Delhi.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ekta Shukla
    • 1
  • Satya Shila Singh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Prashant Singh
    • 1
  • Arun Kumar Mishra
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Microbial genetics, Department of BotanyBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia
  2. 2.Guru Ghasidas VishwavidyalayaBilaspurIndia

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