Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 35, Issue 11, pp 1295–1301 | Cite as

Blue Color Formation of Cyanobacteria with β-Cyclocitral

  • Ken-Ichi HaradaEmail author
  • Keiko Ozaki
  • Sayaka Tsuzuki
  • Hajime Kato
  • Masateru Hasegawa
  • Emilia K. Kuroda
  • Suzue Arii
  • Kiyomi Tsuji


Volatile compounds, such as β-cyclocitral, geosmin, and 2-methylisoborneol, from cyanobacteria showed a lytic activity against cyanobacteria. Particularly, β-cyclocitral caused an interesting color change in the culture broth from green to blue during the lysis process. In the present study, the lytic behavior of various cyanobacteria with β-cyclocitral was investigated, and a mechanism for the blue color formation was developed. β-Cyclocitral lysed both the laboratory strains of any genera and bloom samples including many species of cyanobacteria, and caused the characteristic color change from green to blue. β-Cyclocitral provided a characteristic behavior, such that the absorption maxima of chlorophyll-a and β-carotene disappeared, but that of phycocyanin still remained after 12 h, which indicated that β-cyclocitral decomposed chlorophyll-a and β-carotene rapidly, so that the inherent colors from the tolerant water-soluble pigments became observable in the cultured broth. This phenomenon was confirmed by another experiment using Phormidium (NIES-611), which showed a pink color derived from phycoerythrin. β-Cyclocitral was more easily oxidized when compared with similar aldehyde compounds, so that the pH of the solution quickly decreased to 4.5. An oxidation product of β-cyclocitral in water solution was isolated and identified as 2,6,6-trimethylcyclohexene-1-carboxylic acid. This study provides support that β-cyclocitral derived from cyanobacteria plays an important role in the lysis of cyanobacteria and participates in the blue color formation under natural conditions.


β-Cyclocitral Cyanobacteria Lysis Blue color formation Acid stress 



The authors thank Dr. Yuriko Nozawa at Taisho Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., for measurement of NMR spectra.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ken-Ichi Harada
    • 1
    Email author
  • Keiko Ozaki
    • 1
  • Sayaka Tsuzuki
    • 1
  • Hajime Kato
    • 1
  • Masateru Hasegawa
    • 1
  • Emilia K. Kuroda
    • 1
    • 3
  • Suzue Arii
    • 1
  • Kiyomi Tsuji
    • 2
  1. 1.Graduate School of Environmental and Human Science and Faculty of PharmacyMeijo UniversityTempakuJapan
  2. 2.Kanagawa Prefectural Institute of Public HealthShimomachiya, ChigasakiJapan
  3. 3.Department of Food TechnologyState University of LondrinaLondrinaBrazil

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